Thanks to camouflage, animals stay alive on the mean streets of the wilderness. Years of natural selection gave animals the perfect attributes to blend into their surroundings with ease, seemingly altering reality. In nature, what you see is not always what you get—animals make sure of that.
With perfected fur coats, animals make themselves impossible for predators, prey, and curious humans to spot. And when their natural camouflage options fail? Animals have more creative ways of blending in with the environment and raising eyebrows in the process!
1. The average wild giraffe lives for about 25 years, thanks in part to its brilliant camouflage. Dark spots on tan fur make the mammals blend in with the dry plains brush and all its shadows. Just see how long it takes to find the giraffe below!
2. Somewhere amidst the stacks of wood, a sleepy kitty snoozed the day away. Sure, the kitty wasn’t born with the perfect camouflage, but on that day, he made it work!
3. Animals have a way of messing with your eyes, even without camouflage. This dog posed for a photo at the right moment, and, for a second, stole headlines with graceful en pointe ballet moves.
4. When you aren’t born with natural camouflage, you’ve got to work with what you’re given. This pooch did just that, commanding an army of stuffed lookalikes so he could slide from view.
5. Alpacas are people, too. At least, you might think so if you only saw this perfectly timed photo. This was certainly a unique take on camouflage, but you’d do anything possible to hide, too, if your fur was three times warmer than wool!
6. The Alaskan State Bird—the willow ptarmigan sports brown feathers in the summertime, but come winter, its plumage shifts to white. That makes it tough to spot in the below photo.
7. Just when little Timmy thought he understood goats, he saw this pair that seemingly merged into one. If a single goat can jump over 12 feet, how far could this chimera leap?
8. Only arctic wolves use camouflage to hide from predators. The rest of them, like the guy hiding below, blend in to better sneak up on their prey. Can you spot the wolf before it’s too late for you?
9. Ambushing unsuspecting prey is easy when you’re a cheetah: yellowed fur and black spots let you melt effortlessly into the dry brush and shadows. While she’s tough to spot in the picture below, at night, she’d be practically invisible.
10. Mother-of-four Bianca Dickinson didn’t notice the snake lying in wait behind her daughter Molly until she’d already taken a few photographs—can you spot the deadly reptile?
11. A bite from a copperhead snake injects enough venom to send any human to the hospital. Experts say it’s best to avoid them altogether, but good luck spotting the one below, first.
12. Adventurers spent decades searching for mythical mermaids, aquatic creatures with the top half of a human female and the tail of a fish. They should’ve been searching for the opposite—it’s all about the fish heads!
13. Coyotes pepper the entirety of the United States and blend into countless environments, too. The coyote below practically dissolved into the snowy landscape.
14. Owls use asymmetrical ears to locate precisely where their prey may be lurking in the shadows. But good luck locating this perfectly camouflaged owl!
15. When an impala spots a predator—a lion, for instance—it barks a warning to its herd; the fleet runners then sprint away, leaping 10 feet in the air over obstacles if need be. They’re tough to catch—and tough to spot, too. Just try to find the impala below.
16. Another alpaca desperate to hide his precious coat, this camelid took the “hidden animals” motif a little too seriously. He went all David Copperfield on the people and made his body disappear.
17. Though it’s called a nighthawk, the bird hiding below actually belongs to the nightjar family. It boasts such elite camouflage skills that the bird doesn’t make a nest for its young: it practically disappears as soon as it touches down.
18. Centaurides may be creatures of myth, but with the help of a good boy and a noble steed, these women were living legends, walking on four legs like Chiron himself.
19. Cheetah cubs sport grey manes down their backs, which tricks would-be predators into thinking they’re dangerous honey badgers. When they lose their mantle, they rely on their spots and fur to meld into the landscape. Try and find the cheetah below!
20. You might have seen a blue-crowned parrot in the 1998 film Paulie, but thanks to its blue head and green feathers—a necessity for survival in savanna-like habitats—you might not see one in this photo!
For every super-sneaky animal out there, however, there are plenty more who get caught exactly where they’re not supposed to be! You won’t be able to get enough of these hilariously guilty faces.
1. “Oh… I was just checking to see if the asparagus was fresh. I swear!” This little guy’s eyes just say it all, don’t they? He knows exactly what he did, and he is terrified to have been caught.
2. “There’s a what where? I’m sorry, I don’t know what ‘lid’ means. It it that thing you’re always feeding whenever you want to throw out the food that you could have just given to me? Oh, it is? Okay, got it.”
3. “Hey friend! Why don’t you just go ahead and jump in with me? Uh, yeah, the water’s just a little bit warm. Don’t worry about that. I definitely had nothing to do with that, trust me.”
4. “At last, I will destroy—no, uh, I definitely wasn’t doing anything! That stuffed caterpillar is just, um, playing with me! Yeah, that’s right, we’re the best of friends. Tell them we’re friends, buddy!”
5. “I regret nothing! I don’t even mind the fact that I appear to be trapped in this huge, fluffy pillow. I am comfortable right now, and that is all that matters. So hey, leave me alone!”
6. “What? No, I’m not doing anything. I was just, uh, making sure you had your wallet. I’m happy to report that it’s safe and sound. Yup, it’s right here in your purse, where it’s always been. Untouched. Why do you have that look on your face?”
7. “Oh, hello. I’m in a bit of a conundrum here. What? Oh no, the hangers are fine. It’s just that I can’t seem to figure out what clothes to wear today. It’s humid, so I want to avoid polyester, but this striped top would look so good with these skinny jeans. Ah, fashion!”
8. “Nope, nothing’s wrong. Everything’s good here! We’re getting along just fine, actually. We weren’t fighting at all. We adore each other! We were just talking about red dots, and how much we love them!”
9. “Oh, gosh, no, it’s not what it looks like! We’re just wrestling… right, Ernie? Either way, I can assure you that whatever it is that you think you see, it is completely consensual and beautiful.”
10. “You, know, my friend, it’s actually pretty nice in here! You should really try this sometime. It’s like your very own personal jacuzzi. I honestly don’t understand why you sit on this and not in this.”
11. “I totally wasn’t scratching him and hissing at him.” “Wait, that’s not tru—” “Hush, you! See? We’re the best of friends. We’re not fighting, just playing. Talking about TV shows. And who should control the remote, which we decided was me.” “No we didn’t!” “Yes. We. Did.”
12. “Lipstick? No. Never heard of it.” What do you think? Does this cute little pup look better or worse with all of that makeup on her face? Maybe with a little more precision, she could host her own YouTube tutorial!
13. “Ooh, this is really prett—ABORT. ABORT MISSION.” You can watch this gif countless times, and it still would be amazing. There’s so much going on here: the curiosity, the realization that she’s been caught red-handed, the slowly backing away…
14. “Why am I up here? Well, for starters, I have such a better view of the kitchen from this spot. I can watch everything that you’re cooking. And once it’s finished, I can just take a nosedive right in!”
15. “I was just breaking in your shoes. And your hat, too. Yeah, you know how uncomfortable hats can be if you haven’t been wearing them for a little while. They get stiff. That’s a thing, right?”
16. “He can’t punish me if I don’t look him in the face. So I’ll just go ahead and say that I’ll never look at his face again. Sure, I’ll have to live with the top of a garbage can for the rest of my life, but at least I won’t have to face the shame.”
17. “Oh… you’re home early. Look, the way that I choose to make my own money on nights and weekends is nobody’s business than my own, okay? I don’t judge you for your job!”
18. “Hey! I remember you said you wanted to go grocery shopping soon, so I took it upon myself to read all the circulars. There are so many things on sale right now! Squeaky toys, puppy chow… I even clipped all the coupons for you. Aren’t you happy?”
19. “Pardon me? I just got out of the shower. I was actually about to shave my beard. Can this wait? …Oh, there’s someone at the door? It’s my date? Ah! Tell her to give me a minute!”
20. “Well, I guess this is my life now.” This is what happens when curious kitties don’t think things through when they go exploring. We’ve heard of them getting caught up in tall trees and muddy holes, but the couch? Now that’s a new one!
21. “I think the cat did that. Actually, come to think of it… yeah, I saw her do it. She was all like, ‘I’m going to make a big mess for the humans to clean up and you can’t stop me!’ and I was like ‘nooooo!’ So it’s her fault. Wait… what do you mean we don’t have a cat?”
22. “Oh, see, my paw was hot, and I figured that the fish wouldn’t mind if I went ahead and cooled it down by dipping it into their tank here. No, of course I wouldn’t try to eat them! What kind of cat do you think I am? Geez!”
23. “No way, I totally wasn’t going to eat the ice cream! All I was going to do was make sure that you didn’t have anything in here that would tempt you from your diet, and… okay I was going to eat it. Don’t judge me!”
24. “It attacked me! What, was I supposed to do—just lie down and let myself get beaten up? I had to defend myself! It’s been a long, bloody battle, and I’ve been injured. But I emerged victorious! At least… I think I did.”
25. “What did I do while you were gone, you ask? Oh, nothing. Just sat around mostly. No, of course I didn’t destroy any of your super fluffy pillows. The fish did that. You should really get rid of them, you know.”
26. “I saw you were attempting to make something and figured I’d help. It’s okay, my paws are clean. Sometimes you just need to knead it by hand to get the dough just right. Cats just have that special touch. They don’t call it ‘Meow Mix’ for nothing!”
27. “What are you pointing at? I don’t see anything. Nope, no shredded papers, just a couch and a TV stand! I don’t know what you’re talking about. There’s absolutely nothing there. Really.”
28. “Dude, I’ve had such a busy day today. I’ve lounged over there on that couch. I’ve lounged on this couch. I’ve napped on every pillow at least twice. I’m so exhausted, I think I need another nap! Phew. This sure is a tough job.”
29. “No, we’re not play-fighting! I just caught Mr. Whiskers over here jumping in the mud outside and then stomping all over the couch with his dirty paws. I’m actually making a citizen’s arrest!”
30. “Don’t go upstairs. Seriously, please don’t do it. You really don’t want to know what’s up there… okay, fine. You know that signed collection of Lord of the Rings books that you have? Well… used to have? Yeah, about that…”
31. “Don’t go in there. I’m telling you, this bathroom needs to be quarantined because someone did something really nasty in there. No, of course it wasn’t me! I’m just giving you a warning. Also, we should probably find the Poopetrator, whoever they are, before they strike again!”
32. “I’m just happy to see you come home! I mean, yes, I did eat all of the cupcakes, and yes, they were absolutely amazing. But I love you even more than I love those delicious baked goods!”