Mimicry in Wild Animals – Hiding in Plain Sight

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wild animals can be absolute masters of disguise. Mimicry is a form of adaptation that helps many animals avoid predation and live longer. Have you ever been told to “fake it til you make it?” – These animals have this skill down pat. By mimicking large, poisonous or venomous animals, some wild species are able to fool predators into avoiding eating them!

In nature, often bright colours alert predator species that ingesting this particular animal could be harmful; many prey species have adapted to look dangerous. For example, harmless hoverflies mimic honeybees, which other animals recognize as something that will sting them, so they leave the fly alone.

Milk Snake, with red bands touching black bands- they are not dangerous but predators often believe that they are

Coral snakes are known as poisonous snakes and have colourful bands of black, red and yellow. Milk snakes, which are harmless, mimic the colours of coral snakes. The distinguishable difference is that poisonous snakes have red bands that touch yellow bands; the mimicking snakes have red bands that touch black bands. There is a saying that goes “red touch yellow, kill a fellow, red touch black, venom lack”


Monarch butterflies, also very colourful and beautiful, are unpalatable to predators due to the toxic milkweeds they ingest as larvae, they are therefore rarely predated. Viceroys have wing patterns that mimic similar shape and colour schemes, resulting in them being predated less.

Wild animals have proven that you do not need to be the strongest or the fastest to be truly successful. They can evade predation by hiding in plain sight. 

Nature never fails to amaze me! 



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