Animals use camouflage to protect itself from predators in the wild. There are four basic types of camouflage used by animals. They include concealing coloration, disruptive coloration, disguise and mimicry.
Concealing coloration is used by animals when they hide themselves against a background of the same color. For example, in snowy areas, an animal such as the polar bear or snowy owl in the Arctic have white coloring to blend in with their backgrounds. In deserts and grasslands there are animals that have tan and brown colors that they use to blend into the background.
A green tree frog blends into the background with its bright green color to fade and hide in trees and grasses. Adult white-tail deer have earth tone colors help keep and hide them from predators.
Disruptive coloration is used by animals with spots, stripes, or patterns to break up their outline so it does not stick out against the background. Animals that use this type of camouflage include zebras, leopards, tigers, and even some fish.
A zebra uses it stripes helping it to avoid lions. A leopard has a spotted coat camouflaging them in tall brush and grass while they hunt. A raccoon butterfly fish uses its patterns of black and yellow to single it out in a large group.
When animals blend into their surroundings by appearing like another object it is called disguise. Insects that look like a branch or a leaf hides itself from predators by use a costume. Examples of animals using this kind of camouflage include walking sticks, katydids, and leaf insects.
The walking stick actually looks like a stick, the katydid can appear as a leaf, and a thorn bug looks like a thorn on a plant.
The final type of camouflage is called mimicry. Mimicry is when animals or insects appear like other dangerous, bad tasting, or poisonous animals or insects. Basically, these animals or insects pretend to be another animal or insect. There are some snakes, butterflies, and moths that use this type of camouflage for protection from predators. Some examples include the scarlet king snake, hawk moth, and Viceroy butterfly.
The elephant hawk caterpillar has two false eyes and moves its head from side to side like a snake. It does this to frighten off predators who think it is a snake. The scarlet king snake is non-poisonous, but it has coloration and patterning that allows it to look like a poisonous snake called a coral snake. Its predators get confused and stays away from the real scarlet king snake. A monarch butterfly is poisonous so the non-poisonous Viceroy butterfly mimics it so the predators will avoid eating it.
In summary, animals use camouflage to protect themselves from predators. The four types of camouflage include concealing coloration, disruptive coloration, disguise, and mimicry. Each type of camouflage helps the animal or insect protect itself not just from predators, but is also useful when some of the animals go hunting for prey as well.