Taking photos of nature makes me take a good look at things. I’d like to share just a few shots.
There are many ways that animals have evolved to protect themselves from predators. The usual blending in with their back ground is easily seen on the photo. I’ve noticed these gray grasshoppers are populating our new piece stone. I’m sure they haven’t decided to live there because they noticed how well they blend in. The fact that few of them have been eaten while sitting on the stones has been the deciding factor.
Another very effective use of color is the optical illusion it can create. Some animals just might look too scary to eat! The eyes have it. However moths developed this coloration, it favored their existence with the appearance of eyes.
All a prey animal needs is a moment’s hesitation to survive. Those big “eyes” must have offered “food for thought” to predators just often enough to have become a dominant trait.
If you think animals are not frightened by eyes alone you might be interested in an experiment I did. We had a nest of birds above our porch door at camp. I feared disturbing them every time I opened and closed the door. The mother bird needed to sit on the eggs to hatch them and continue keeping the hatchlings warm by sitting with them. If she was disturbed too often, the babies would die. I realized quickly that the people who were unaware that the nest was there could go back and forth beneath the nest leaving them undisturbed even though it was only a foot away. When I turned my head to look at “mama” bird, that was the only time she would leave in fright. I tested this theory all day long coming to the conclusion that it was my eyes that frightened her. The final test was the clincher. I wore sunglasses and she remained undisturbed.
Another way to appear scary is to have teeth. Well, the appearance of them works too. Take a look at the frog. Frogs do not have teeth but can you see where a predator might think they do?
Finally, an animal must protect its head. The thought of loss or injury to our own heads makes it quite clear how living is impossible without them. If a predator strikes and misses the prey’s head, survival of the prey is a bit more likely.
This milk snake keeps his head more often than he loses it. 🙂