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14 amazing camouflaged animals

By: Russell McLendon on March 4, 2011, 11 a.m.
Mossy leaf-tailed gecko

Photo: JialiangGao/Wikimedia Commons

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Mossy leaf-tailed gecko

It may look like this lizard has been overrun with moss, but save your sympathy — that's its skin. This is the mossy leaf-tailed gecko, a master of disguise found only in the forests of Madagascar (click here to enlarge).

Since these geckos live in trees, they've evolved moss- and bark-colored skin, complete with "dermal flaps" that break up their outline (see this photo for an example). But they also have another trick up their sleeves: Much like chameleons, they can change their skin color to match the background. Despite these hiding skills, however, the species is still considered vulnerable to extinction, due to habitat loss as well as hunting for the international pet trade.