16 Animals Who Disguise Themselves as Other Animals

There are plenty of animals who have no problem looking like leaves, bark, twigs, or coral when they want some peace from predators. However, there are also animals that camouflage to look like other animals. Some appear to look like predators, tricking those that would disturb them into staying away. Others are predators who lure their prey into coming closer by masquerading as a harmless friend or potential mate. And while some use visual appearance to deceive, others rely on sound and smell for their ruses. 

  • Hawk Moths

    Hawk Moths
    Video: YouTube

    This type of medium- to large-sized moth can fly rather quickly as an adult, but when they're only caterpillars, they make themselves look like snakes to avoid predators. In this case, their head becomes the tail. Other names for this moth family include sphinx moths and hornworms. 

  • Mimic Octopus

    Mimic Octopus
    Video: YouTube

    The mimic octopus can change its color and texture in order to look like other objects or animals. When it isn't mimicking anything, it looks like a light brown octopus. Other times, it will prey on crabs by posing as an available crab looking to mate. To defend itself from predators, it will mimic poisonous sea creatures, such as sea creatures or lionfish. 

  • Scarlet Kingsnake

    Scarlet Kingsnake
    Video: YouTube

    The scarlet kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake found in the eastern United States. You might have spotted a few yourself, as they can occasionally live in suburbia and are sometimes found in pools. They look very similar to the coral snake, which is venomous. Both snakes are red, yellow and black. However, you can tell the two apart using this handy rhyme: "Red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, venom at lack."

  • Viceroy Butterflies

    Viceroy Butterflies
    Video: YouTube

    The viceroy butterfly looks very much like a monarch. Monarchs are unpalatable, meaning they simply don't taste good to predators. However, further research indicates that viceroys themselves may also be unpalatable, perhaps even more unpalatable than the monarch. Birds that have eaten an unpalatable butterfly will typically avoid eating other butterflies that look the same.

  • Alligator Snapping Turtles

    Alligator Snapping Turtles
    Video: YouTube

    This turtle has a clever ruse. It uses its tongue to mimic a wriggling worm, appealing to fish. Of course, when the fish takes the bait, it's already in the perfect location for the waiting turtle to gobble it up - and their bites are no joke. 

  • Bolas Spider

    Bolas Spider
    Video: YouTube

    Bolas spiders use scent to trick their prey. A female spider can emit something very similar to the sex pheromones of a female moth-fly. This will lure male moth-flies, where the bolas spider can either snap them up with its front legs or capture them via a bolas. A bolas is basically a sticky blob that the spider will attach to a silk thread. The bolas spider flings the blob at the moth when it comes into range, thus trapping it for dinner.