Apr 1

The natural world is full of trickery, with many species proving to be masters of deception, not just on April Fools’ Day, but every day.

Amphibious antics

This master of disguise has got the leaf-look down to a tee, with its twisted body, veined skin and tail which appears to have been nibbled by insects or decayed amongst leaf litter. If its name and physical appearance doesn’t deter predators, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko can also flatten its body to reduce shadow, shed its tail and open its mouth to reveal a shocking red mouth. It seems this critter has plenty of tricks up sleeves!

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko image

Nature’s stink bomb

The Palawan stink badger lives up to its name by its method of defence. When attacked, a putrid-smelling yellow fluid is squirted from its anal glands, which will linger on the unfortunate victim for quite some time. Sometimes this species even ‘plays dead’ before ejecting the stinking secretion over the unsuspecting intruder.

Palawan stink badger image

Comical coney

Juvenile coneys are known to adopt a rather sneaky hunting technique known as ‘agressive mimicry’. By joining a group of similarly-sized and coloured brown chromis (Chromis multilineata), they are able to sneek up on prey unnoticed.

Coney image

Swindling snake

The juvenile Mexican cantil has a cunning method of attaining its next meal. By wiggling the tip of its yellow tail, it tricks other snakes and lizards into thinking it is an invertebrate. What comes next is definitely not a pleasant surprise!

Mexican cantil image

Is it a bird, a plane or a car alarm?

An expert impersonator, the African grey parrot is known to repeat everything from car alarms and human speech to calls of mammals and other birds. This species is considered to be one of the smartest animal species in the world and is thought to have the same intelligence level as a five year old human!


African grey parrot image

The plants are doing it too!

In certain populations, the peacock moraea flowers bear a striking resemblance to two different pollinating beetles, the glittering monkey beetle and the P. rufotibialis beetle. The plant is thought to have developed this remarkable mimicry to attract male beetles to the flower, enabling the plant to spread its pollen. This trickery must be rather disappointing for any would-be suitors.

Peacock moraea image

Can you think of anymore mischievous mammals, roguish reptiles, badly behaved birds, playful plants or impulsive insects? Let us know!

We wish you a happy and incident-free April Fools’ Day!

Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Species Text Author Intern

  • clement (April 1st, 2012 at 10:43 pm):

    i feel someone needs to mention all the freshwater clams that have a fish shaped organ that pops out, when a bigger fish bites it, the clam shoots out its larvae into the fish’s gills.