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Fear in the Wild

Defensive Behavior

Most prey animals will avoid fights with predators, if at all possible. Therefore, many species have evolved tricks to try to keep predators from attacking.

Some animals puff themselves up to look bigger and scarier. Some flash their fangs and extend their claws to show that they mean business.

Other animals use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings. Some animals, such as chameleons, can even change color to better hide themselves.

Still other animals create a diversion to mask their escape. Octopi, for example, secrete a black dye, which creates a disorienting smokescreen effect that can help the animal make a timely getaway.

Communicating Fear

Some animal species have developed methods of warning others that predators are nearby. Vervet monkeys, for example, use different alarm calls to alert one another of approaching predators. If the intruder is a snake, the alarm call sounds different from the one the monkeys use to warn of a leopard or an eagle. This trick tells other monkeys where to direct their attention when trying to avoid the predator.