Introduction: Camouflage Critters

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The Science of Camouflage

Have you ever wanted to make yourself disappear while playing a game of hide and seek? Some animals do this every day! Camouflage is a defense technique used by animals to avoid being seen or help them blend in with their environment. For example, many animals that live in places with lots of snow, like polar bears, have white fur. This helps them sneak up on their prey without being noticed! Prey animals can also use camouflage. The snowshoe hare has white fur like the polar bear, but it uses it to blend in with snow to hide from predators.

There are many other ways that camouflage is used in the animal kingdom. Some animals blend in by using multiple colors, designs or patterns on their bodies to make it harder to see the outline of the animal. This is called disruptive coloration. Examples of disruptive coloration include the way a tiger’s stripes mimic their environment to help them blend in, the way that a sea turtle’s shell patterns blend in with the ocean floor, and the way that some butterflies have spots that look like giant eyes on their wings, tricking predators into thinking they are much larger animals.

For more information about the different types of camouflage and great picture examples of animals camouflaging with their environments, visit Project Learning Tree’s website:

For this project you will be coloring an animal of your choice with a pattern to help it camouflage with a background!


  • paper
  • critter printout or a critter outline you drew yourself
  • scissors
  • glue
  • paint or something to color with

Step 1: Choose a Critter

For this step, you can choose one of the printable critter outlines provided in this post or draw your own critter outline!

Step 2: Paint Your Critter!

Choose a pattern and paint your critter with the pattern. You can choose a colorful, fun pattern or a more realistic pattern. For my project, I looked up the coloring of a copperhead snake and used that as an inspiration. This is a very fun project to practice painting skills on but it can also be done with coloring supplies or other creative methods of pattern making (collage, printing, etc). Since you will be cutting your critter out later, you don’t need to worry about painting outside of the lines.

Step 3: Create a Background

Next, you will paint the same pattern you used on your critter on a full sheet of paper. This will be the background that your critter will blend into!

Step 4: Camouflage Your Critter!

Cut your critter out and position it on your background however you like. Glue the critter in place and show off your awesome camouflage art project!