By Leigh KempThe animals of Africa have adapted in a number of ways to survive the dangers that are a part of their everyday life and mimicry and camouflage are two of the most fascinating adaptations.
Although mimicry probably occurs more in insects than in other groups of animals, some examples of mimicry occur in mammals such as Cheetah where the young look like an adult Honey Badger. The Cheetah is low on the predator chain and has a problem defending itself while the Honey Badger has a vicious reputation and is avoided by most predators.
Cheetah cubs are left hidden for long periods while the mother is out hunting so the badger association allows some protection. Is this an evolutionary adaptation or purely coincidental? It does seem a little far-fetched that the Cheetah, with its limited gene pool, was able to bring in this sort of adaptation.
Camouflage is used by species in evading predators - and to assist predators in hunting. Antelope such as the Kudu that live in wooded areas are usually fawn coloured to blend in with the surroundings and the tawny coat of Lions assists when stalking prey in grass. The Cheetah is well camouflaged in dappled shade, where it is often found resting or looking out for prey.
There are many examples of Camouflage and Mimicry survival techniques seen in the wildlife of Africa and in fact all species exhibit a form of one or both these survival techniques.