Wild Animals/Active Camouflage


Mr. Wright,
First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer this question.
Could a hamster metabolically support active camouflage (color change only).
Just in regards to metabolism, could it work?

Dear Oz

Thank you for your question and kind comments. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_camouflage says active camouflage adapts, often rapidly, to the surroundings of an object and can, in theory, provide perfect concealment from visual detection.Animals achieve active camouflage by colour change and by counterillumination, with the use of bioluminescence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deception_in_animals#Active_camouflage goes into more details about the skin cells involved. There is no mention of hamsters, as their bodies are covered with fur. Some species of mammals moult their hair to match the surroundings in summer and winter, but this is not an example of active camouflage. The coat colour doesn't change until the next seasonal change, while active camouflage is rapid. Walter Hintz (http://en.allexperts.com/q/Biology-664/2015/10/active-camouflage.htm) provided additional information - animals that use active camouflage have colour changes involve the activity of live cells and pigmentation,while hair is not cellular, except for follicular cells.

Please note that genetically modified mice can show bioluminescence (http://www.webexhibits.org/causesofcolor/4ADA.html). http://www.genetargeting.com/products-and-services/types-of-mouse-models/transge goes into scientific detail about the methods involved to produce transgenic mice. I couldn't find any information about the mice developing active camouflage. If scientists can achieve this with mice, I suspect it can be achieved in hamsters.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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