Let's face it, we all hate nature to varying degrees and for our own reasons. But surely nothing inspires loathing of the animal kingdom like the fact that its creatures are constantly trying to trick us. We have previously examined some ways creatures like to go undercover as something else, but that barely skims the surface of Mother Nature's horrible bag of tricks. For instance ...
8Leaf-Tailed Geckos Are Basically Invisible
Believe it or not, there is a lizard in the below picture:
Wait, is this one of those Magic Eye things?
The thing you can't see is a leaf-tailed gecko, a creature that has evolved to look like bark, leaves and twigs. It's so good at pretending to be other things that, most of the time, you can't even tell it's there when you're actively looking for it. At least, until it blinks. Here it is without the branch:
It's pretty obvious, right? So where did it go?
What is this, a snipe hunt?
These "so good at disguise it looks like Photoshop" geckos are from the island of Madagascar, which is where Mother Nature went after taking a handful of hallucinogens, producing affronts to sanity like the aye-aye and the comet moth. It also appears that everything else there is secretly a gecko somehow.
There are 10 different species of leaf-tailed geckos in Madagascar, not that you'd ever notice. Each one has developed camouflage extremely specific to its corner of the island. Some of them look like palm fronds ...
... and some of them look like dead leaves ...
Mother Nature has exceptional attention to detail when she lays off the weed.
... but none of them look like something you want to accidentally put your hand on, which is too bad, because they could literally be anywhere. Did you take a good look at that chair before you sat down?
7Frogfish Hunt With Fake Lures
You might need to have a second look, but there's something in this picture that isn't a lump of coral. (Hint: It's the part with the face.)
If you can call that a face.
Frogfish, or angler fish, scuttle around on every tropical ocean floor in the world except for the Mediterranean. Quite frankly, they have no right to call themselves fish, being that they don't have scales and don't even really swim, preferring to "walk" with leglike front fins. When they stop moving, they look like corals and rocks and other inanimate sea floor detritus.
"Has a clown been pooping around here?"
They want to make themselves invisible because of their unique strategy for getting food -- they have a fishing lure attached to their face.
NOAA Photo Library
Hey, frogfish, you got a little something on your ... never mind.
Imagine you're walking down the street and suddenly you see a sandwich hovering in front of you. Hovering sandwiches being your favorite kind, you reach out for it, and are instantly devoured by a nearby monster disguised as a minivan. That's what small sea creatures have to deal with every day.
"Be careful, Carl, I'm pretty sure that's the face-eating type of coral."