Masters of Disguise

Some clever creatures use tricks to disguise themselves from predators or prey. Click around the map and try to spot these masters of disguise! Learn more about these masters of disguise by exploring each section below!

To search for these creatures in their natural hiding places, be sure to visit the Masters of Disguise page on a tablet or desktop computer.

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  • Walking Leaf Insect

    Walking Leaf Insect
    • What they look like: 2 to 4 inches long, flat and green with wings that look like leaves.
    • Where they hide: Trees, bushes and leaves.
    • Why they disguise: To hide from predators — some species rock back and forth when they walk to look like leaves blowing in the wind.
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  • Leaf-nosed Snake

    Leaf-nosed Snake
    • What they look like: 2 to 3 feet long, brownish-tan and yellow or gray. Males have pointed noses and females have leaf-shaped ones.
    • Where they hide: Tree branches
    • Why they disguise: To hide while they sneak up on their prey: lizards.
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  • Stick Bug

    Stick Bug
    • What they look like: Thin black, brown or green bodies, ranging from less than 1 inch to more than 12 inches long.
    • Where they hide: Trees and bushes.
    • Why they disguise: To escape their predators – like birds, small reptiles and rodents.
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  • Goldenrod Crab Spider

    Goldenrod Crab Spider
    • What they look like: Bodies can change colors from white to yellow and have red stripes on the abdomen. 1/10 to nearly ½ of an inch in size.
    • Where they hide: Yellow and white flowers
    • Why they disguise: To become invisible when bees, wasps or other prey land nearby.
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  • Chameleon

    Chameleon
    • What they look like: As small as ½ an inch or as large as 27 inches in size. Greenish with long tongues and tails, crests or horns on their heads.
    • Where they hide: Trees and bushes
    • Why they disguise: To hide from predators and communicate with other chameleons. Light, temperature and even their mood can also change their color.
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  • Toad

    Toad
    • What they look like: 2 to 6 inches long with short legs. Dry, leathery skin, brown or reddish-brown in color, with olive or gray patches and yellow or white bellies.
    • Where they hide: Under rocks, leaves, logs, wood piles, porches and boardwalks.
    • Why they disguise: To blend in with their surroundings and hide from predators.
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  • Forked Fungus Beetle

    Forked Fungus Beetle
    • What they look like: 1/3 to ½ of an inch long, and brown to black with a pair of horns on their heads.
    • Where they hide: Tree bark and fungi
    • Why they disguise: To avoid being eaten by their predators.
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  • Owl Butterfly

    Owl Butterfly
    • What they look like: 4- to 5½-inch wingspan, with large spots on the underside of their wings that look like owl eyes.
    • Where they hide: forests
    • Why they disguise: To stay safe from predators like birds and lizards.
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  • Bird Dung Crab Spider

    Bird Dung Crab Spider
    • What they look like: Less than ½ of an inch long, with two large, strong front legs to grasp prey. Blackish-brown and gray bodies covered in wet blobs and warts that look like bird dung.
    • Where they hide: Leaves
    • Why they disguise: To catch prey — most species look and smell like bird dung, which attracts flies.
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  • Nolid Moth Caterpillar

    Nolid Moth Caterpillar
    • What they look like: About ½ an inch long, brown and yellow with a large green bulb on top of its head.
    • Where they hide: Leaves
    • Why they disguise: To avoid being eaten by birds — the green bulb on its head looks like berries that aren't ripe yet.
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  • Katydid

    Katydid
    • What they look like: Most are green, grow to be 1½ to 2½ inches long and have wings that look like leaves.
    • Where they hide: Forests and fields
    • Why they disguise: To blend in with the leaves of plants and trees in their habitats.
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  • Orchid Mantis

    Orchid Mantis
    • What they look like: White bodies, ¾ of an inch to 2¾ inches long with soft or bright pink coloring and legs that look like flower petals.
    • Where they hide: Orchids and other bright flowers.
    • Why they disguise: To trick prey into thinking they're a flower to eat.
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