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5 Clever Animals that Change Costume

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Come October 31, folks across the country will transform from everyday people to ghouls, goblins, and more. But humans aren’t the only ones who change costume. Check out the animals below that change their color, shape, and more seasonally or over time. Maybe they’ll inspire you to Wear It Wild this Halloween.

Arctic Fox

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The magnificent Arctic fox changes costume with the weather. In the winter, the species dons a bright white or blueish-gray coat to blend into the snow covering the inland areas of the Arctic. That coat changes to a brown or gray when the snow melts and the rocks and plants of the tundra are revealed. WWF works to ensure fragile ecosystems like the Arctic are supported and protected so the Arctic fox and other species may thrive.

Mimic Octopus

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As its name suggests, the mimic octopus changes shape and color to resemble other marine animals like the flatfish, lionfish, seahorse, and crabs. Octopuses in general are known to change color, but the mimic octopus specifically takes the defense tactic a step further by also changing shape to avoid potential predators.

American Goldfinch

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© Lonnie Gorsline / Shutterstock

The American goldfinch sports luminous yellow feathers in the summer, making the species easy to spot for birdwatchers. But as the weather cools and winter rolls in, the goldfinch dawns subtle brown feathers.

Stoat

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The stoat is generally not the first species that comes to mind when we think of animals in cool climates. This weasel-like creature lives mainly in alpine meadow, marshes and riparian woodlands, where it has a brown coat and white to yellowish belly. But in very cold places, that coat—much like the one of the Arctic fox—turns pure white. This keeps the stoat camouflaged so it can hunt.

Butterfly

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©Naturepl.com / Ingo Arndt / WWF

The butterfly performs the ultimate costume change: shifting from a caterpillar to a beautiful winged creature. Monarchs, in particular, lay one small egg on a milkweed plant. That egg becomes a larva—what we know as a caterpillar—and eventually transform into a pupa. After a time, the monarch will pump its wings and expand into a butterfly. WWF works to promote good forest management to preserve monarch habitat in Mexico and helps fight climate change that can impact monarch migration.