Chameleons aren’t the only fickle dressers in the Animal Kingdom – certain mammals can change their outer appearance too.
The African wild dog is most famous for its unique fur coat. In Latin, its name means “painted wolf”. Each of these mammals has a unique pattern to their fur coat. They are rather irregular looking and consist of a blotchy red, black, white, brown and yellow fur. They are an endangered species and mainly at risk from humans, especially farmers, who will shoot or poison them as they prey on their livestock.
Lion cubs are actually born with spots, which only fade when they grow. A lion?s mane will change colour over time, gradually become darker. The male lion’s mane is at its darkest when it is in its prime, between the age of 5 and 10. A pride is made up of more females and the male’s job is to fend off other males that try to take their place. The fights that ensue mean females generally have a longer lifespan.
Hyenas are born with dark brown fur, which starts to lighten as they get older. Their spots then start to stand out.
The Arctic fox’s fur changes colour seasonally in order to adapt to its surroundings. They are generally white in the winter as camouflage against the snow and darker in the summer to have the same effect on land. Between each colour change, the Artic fox will have a blend of both coats until the new one grows through.
The Arctic Hare, ptarmigan and ermine all change to a white coat for winter. The Barren-ground Caribou coat alternates between brown and white but is never fully one or the other. Its fur coat is generally a mix of the two colours but appears to become whiter in the winter, although it will always carry patches of brown too.
Natural human hair colour is based on ethnic groups. Your hair colour is formed by the amount of melanin within your body. There are two types of melanin – eumelanin and pheomelanin. The more emuelanin you have, the darker your hair will be. We start to get grey hairs as we age because melanin levels decrease in our bodies.
It has actually been proved that humans CAN wear their body hair as an effective coat, just like animals. Why anyone would actually want to do that is another story…