An elusive creature is staring at you from Joshua Tree in this photo. Do you see it?
It might take you longer than you’d expect to spot the elusive creature hiding in a photograph taken at Joshua Tree National Park in California.
The photo, shared by park officials on Monday, Jan. 30, shows a landscape of sand-colored rocks. What you might not see right away is the desert bighorn sheep staring at you from its perch on top of those rocks.
That’s probably because it’s using a technique called cryptic coloration, better known as camouflage, to blend into its environment. It’s about the same shade of sand-color as its rocky landscape.
The technique makes them harder for predators (and hikers) to see them, the post says.
“While exploring the park, always keep an eye on the rocks and boulders around you. … you could easily walk right by a bighorn sheep without even knowing!” the post says. “But please keep in mind, these animals are very sensitive to human disturbance. So, if you do see one in the park, help protect it by quietly viewing it from a distance.”
National Park Service officials estimate 100 to 200 bighorn sheep live in Joshua Tree National Park. They prefer the steep, rocky terrain to escape predators and raise their young.
“Bighorn zigzag up and down cliff faces with amazing ease,” according to an entry on National Park Service’s website. “They use ledges only two inches wide for foot holds, and bounce from ledge to ledge over spans as wide as 20 feet. They can move over level ground at 30 miles per hour and scramble up mountain slopes at 15 mph.”
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