Counter Shading
It all depends on your point of view!

Counter-shading is a very common kind of camouflage for animals that live in the ocean, as well as for many tree-dwelling creatures. When an animal is counter-shaded, the upper part of its body (its back) is dark and the underpart (its belly) is lighter in color.

To see how this would help to conceal an animal, imagine that you are a fish, swimming at the surface of the sea. You get the feeling that there is a lemon shark—a predator of yours—somewhere nearby. If you look down into the water below you, the shark’s dark gray back will blend in with the dark sea floor.  You may not be able to see it! So, still nervous, you dive to the sea floor and look up. Now the shark’s pale belly blends in with the light from the sun above—the shark is still hidden! (Lucky for you, most fish are counter-shaded too!)

As a human, your best chance for spotting an animal with counter-shading—or any other kind of camouflage—is to find a comfortable spot in a wild place, sit very still, and wait patiently. If you are quiet and keep a good lookout, you will soon see all sorts of animals moving about in their hidden lives!

See other types of camouflage by following the links on the right side of the page.

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