As a kid, one of my favorite games to play was hide-and-seek. It's been around as long as anyone can remember, and now I get to play it with my nieces and nephews (although they call it "Manhunt" - kids, am I right?). Hide-and-seek is so popular, in fact, that even animals like to play! There have been multiple reports of animals in zoos playing the game with their handlers.
Some animals, of course, are better at hiding than others. The stick insect, for instance, is almost indistinguishable from a common twig. And, of course, there's the chameleon, the animal world's king of camouflage. Animals use camouflage for a wide variety of reasons, which we'll get into below. The cat in this picture, however, is probably not hidden for any of those reasons.
Make sure you take a good hard look at the picture above. The cat's definitely in there, but man is he well-hidden! What's more frustrating is that he's not even hiding behind or below something, he's just hanging out right under our noses the whole time. This photo has left thousands of people scratching their heads, so if you don't see him either, don't feel too bad. It took me a full 12 minutes of staring to find him. Then I challenged my whole family to do better, and so far, I remain undefeated!
Why Do Animals Use Camouflage?
Camouflage is an important survival strategy used throughout the animal kingdom for a number of reasons. Blending in with your surroundings can help an animal successfully hide from a potential predator, and in some cases, can also trick the predator into thinking the animal is something else (such as a larger, scarier predator).
Camouflage is also used offensively, helping predators lurk in the shadows and hunt their prey undetected. For instance, polar bears have white fur which blends quite well with their arctic surroundings and helps them sneak up on unsuspecting prey. Some animals even have camouflage which changes to match the seasons, such as the arctic fox which is white in winter and brown in summer.
So, were you able to find the cat? Here's the answer:
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