Animal Camouflage

ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE

If you know someone who has been trained in the military, you might have seen them in uniforms called fatigues. Sometimes they are called camouflage because these uniforms make it difficult for others to see the wearers when they are in hiding. But some animals, like the chameleon, do this naturally and serve as models for how to do it right.

QUESTION

How do animals blend into their surroundings?

MATERIALS

2 large sheets of construction paper in each of three different colors Scissors A partner

Procedure

animal camouflage

Light Fright Science Fair Project

Cut one sheet of each color into 2-inch by 2-inch squares. Place all of the colored squares onto one of the large sheets while your partner closes his eyes. When your partner opens his eyes, give him five seconds to grab as many colored squares as he can.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

Our eyes quickly notice sharp contrasts in color. You partner will usually pick out squares that are not the same color as the sheet they are lying on. When animals (and humans) use camouflage, they are taking advantage of the fact that when their colors match those around them (green frogs in grass, brown lizards on a tree branch) predators don’t see any contrast, and the animals are somewhat hidden. If you placed a brown frog in the grass or a green lizard on a tree branch, that animal would stand out and would not be protected.