Why do zebras have stripes and leopards have spots? Why are
frogs green,and polar bears white? Are those thorns on that branch,or
insects? There are many ways that animals hide themselves in order to
survive. Let’s find out more about camouflage.

There is a frog on this stone. But it is very well hidden.Can you see it?
Despite its size, this huge white polar bear is hard to see on ice
This insect is called a praying mantis. It looks just like the grassy stalks where it lives.
Not only do deer blend in by means of color, they lie in the grass or stand very still till danger goes away.

A Monarch Butterfly and A Viceroy Butterfly.
Can you tell them apart?

Identical but not twins: The beautiful monarch butterfly (above left) is full of poisons which it collects from milkweed plants.Any bird that tries to eat a monarch will very quickly become sick. After that, it learns to stay away. The viceroy butterfly (above right) is harmless, but it looks so much like the monarch, that a hungry bird will leave it alone, rather than risk the consquences.

Is it a Thorn or a Bug? The answer is both.
The thorn on the branch is on the right.The
bug is on the left. Its sharp pointy spine sticks
up,making it hard to see and even harder to
eat. Somehow it knows to position itself in the
same direction as the real thorn.
Amazing Clones: The insect on the right (above) is a dangerous hornet. Stay clear. The creature on the left, however, is a harmless clearwing moth. It has no sting at all, but it looks just like a hornet, and even makes the same loud buzzing sound when it flies.


Camouflage is the “art of concealment.” When soldiers have to fight in the desert, or in the forest, they wear special clothes as
camouflage so that they will not be seen. Animals also have special markings and colors that help them
blend in with their surroundings. Chameleons are little lizards that can change their color to look exactly like their environment. A white polar bear is hard to see on the ice. Rabbits change color during the year.They are brown in summer when they romp through the forest. In the winter they are white as snow.


The stripes on zebras confuse their enemies, for they resemble the tall grasses where the zebras live.The stripes also seem to“run off the edges” of their body, and blend in with the background, so that an attacking animal cannot see their shape clearly.

When two zebras stand together it is hard to tell where the stripes of
one end and the other begin. In the picture below, you can see how hard it is to tell one animal from the other. Imagine how confusing it is for a hungry lion, when it sees a whole herd of zebras.They look like one huge moving shape.

Tigers also have stripes which enable them to hide in the forests where they live. But tigers are not hiding to protect themselves.They are trying to stay hidden so they can surprise their prey. Giraffes, the tallest of animals, blend right in with the tall trees where they feed.Their spots surrounded by white look like sunlight breaking through trees, while their legs resemble the sandy earth.


Camouflage makes animals blend in with their background, and helps them to survive.

Mimicry is just the opposite. Instead of hiding, certain creatures want to be seen.The reason is that they are really harmless, but they resemble other highly poisonous insects. Unless you are really an expert, it’s hard to tell them apart.

It’s truly amazing how Hashem provides so many disguises for all of His creations, so that each creature has its own built-in protection.


The theme of disguises appears often in the stories of our people.

Yaacov Avinu, the father of the Jewish people, had to struggle to receive the allimportant blessing of his father,Yitzchak.

Rivka,Yaacov’s mother, told him to disguise himself as Eisav, his twin. She gave him skins of goats and put them on his neck and arms.

Yitzchak recognized Yaacov’s voice but his hairy arms felt like Eisav. “The hands are the hands of Eisav,” he said,“but the voice is the voice of Yaacov.”

Then in the story of Yosef and his brothers,Yosef dressed and spoke like an Egyptian, so that his brothers did not recognize him. Nor did they dream that he understood them when they spoke in Hebrew.

Yosef used his disguise to help the brothers do a complete teshuva for their sin of selling him into slavery. As a result of this, the family was able to be truly reunited.

Then, when the Jews approached the Land of Israel, after 40 years in the desert, they had to fight the Amalekites. But the Amalekites feared the power of the Jews’ prayers, so they disguised themselves as Canaanites.

However, Moshe noticed that their language and their clothes were different. So he prayed just to conquer the enemy, not mentioning them by name, and Hashem listened to his prayer.

In the Megillah, Esther is instructed by Mordechai not to reveal her true identity. Only when the very survival of the Jews is at stake, does she let the King know who she really is.

In general, exile is a state of hiding, when Hashem’s goodness cannot openly be seen. When Moshiach comes,may it be very soon, Hashem will no longer be hidden. Everyone will see clearly what is right and good, and the clever Yetzer Hora will not be able to fool anyone again.

Laying Low: This unusual fish is a lemon sole. It is one of 500 different kinds of tasty flatfish, including flounder, turbot and plaice. Flatfish spend most of their time lying on the bottom of shallow coastal waters.This makes them easy prey, except that they disguise themselves by swishing their fins to dig a hole in the sand.Half buried and covered with sand, it is impossible to see them. Note that both its eyes are on top of its body.
Colorful Creatures of the Coral Reef. The brilliant colors, lights and shadows of a coral reef are reflected in the lights and darks of these colorful tropical fish. Counter-clockwise from the top left: Two kinds of triggerfish, a pipefish striped like seaweeds, and a French anglefish.