RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Deep South Texas is home to a fascinating array of wild creatures that use various forms of camouflage to blend in with their surroundings.
Tucked into a venerable mesquite hollow, this grayish-flecked screech owl is perfectly disguised as weathered tree bark, and you almost can’t see the diminutive owl until it blinks.
Another raptor, whose mottled brownish feathering shrouds seamlessly with its shadowy surroundings, is the Cooper’s hawk, which peers intently from its perch before swooping down on unsuspecting prey.
While birds of prey employ camouflage to conceal their stealthy ambush, other birds utilize it for protection as they attempt to become one with their environment.
Nestled down on the forest floor is the exquisitely camouflaged pauraque, so closely resembling its leaf-strewn setting that it is almost impossible to spot.
Joining the pauraque with its terrestrial disguise is the nighthawk, appearing just like the rocky brown soil where it squats still as a statue.
Coiled within the sandy soil in serpentine ambush, six feet of deadly Diamondback rattlesnake slowly unwinds from its lair where it’s distinctive pattern blends perfectly.
Thick chaparral shelters another hunter, the rare ocelot, whose movements are concealed by its marvelously spotted fur coat.
The Texas spiny lizard looks just like the mesquite bark where it clings, and if it weren’t for a slight head movement the reptile would be almost impossible to discern.
Perhaps, the best camouflage of all is that employed by the anole, which has the remarkable ability to actually change its color from bright green to brown matching the environment it inhabits.
From predator to prey, the myriad creatures of southernmost Texas that use camouflage to conceal themselves provide a fascinating glimpse into the incredible diversity of this unique corner of the world.