It’s a question that has dogged scientists ever since the first animals were discovered in caves or under bridges.
Now, the answer is finally coming to light.
The new findings by University of Queensland zoologist Dr. Daniela Gersp, published in the Journal of Zoology, reveal that some animals can be more adept at hiding than others.
The study found that crocodiles, turtles, and snakes, for instance, were able to hide much better than their closest relative, the house mouse, which was known to be a good hiding spot.
GersP also found that many species of birds have better hiding ability than mice.
This could mean that birds have evolved some innate skills in hiding, but not others, Gerspa told New Scientist.
“It’s not that we’ve got some hidden animals, we’ve just found some things we’ve never seen before,” she said.
She explained that birds, mammals, and insects all have certain adaptations that help them hide.
Some birds use a system of feathers to trap small insects, while others use a hard shell to cover their eyes.
Other species use tiny hairs to camouflage themselves and others use small hairs to help them avoid predators.
Birds have also evolved a system called a beak, which is a kind of hard, thin membrane that helps them glide and glide without breaking.
It may also help them evade predators.
Other animals that can hide are mammals, reptiles, and birds.
These include birds that use their beaks to hide in the snow, the amphibians that hide in pools of water, and some of the invertebrates.
But for most animals, the best hiding place for them is their prey.
The best hiding places are also not always found in the same places.
The most efficient hiding place is often in the middle of the forest, where the predator is not likely to be near.
And the most efficient predator is probably a mammal, which has a strong smell to attract prey.
“They need a lot of cues,” Gersper said.
For instance, a mouse’s beak is a lot more effective at attracting a rabbit than a bird’s, so that animal has a better chance of finding a suitable hiding spot in the forest.
Gansp explained that it takes a lot to hide a predator, and the best way to do it is by using camouflage.
For example, a male mouse may use a small, sharp, curved claw, called a gill, to grab a rabbit and then hide in its burrow.
But Gerspers team discovered that the gill is also effective at getting rid of other animals nearby.
“If you have a mouse, you can get rid of all the rabbits by just moving a little bit further away from it,” she explained.
“But if you have snakes, you need to move farther away.”
To learn more about hiding and predator avoidance, Ganspe said to look for a species of bird that is not always seen, such as the woodpecker.
This bird hides in trees and shrubs, which it has adapted to for its stealthiness.
Another study by the same group found that certain birds have more hiddenness than others, including the wood-billed hummingbird.
This is because the hummingbird is an arboreal bird that lives in tree hollows.
In order to hide, it has to be able to move quickly.
The team of scientists also found evidence that some species of frogs, like the water snake, are able to use their bodies to hide.
However, Gainsp cautioned that we should not attribute their hiddenness solely to this ability.
For many animals, camouflage has evolved over time.
“We have found a lot that was not necessarily obvious, like water snakes hiding in a tree hollow,” Gansper said, but added that more work is needed to understand what the differences are.
“This research gives us some insight into what the different species of animal do and don’t do to hide.”
Gerspan’s team found that animals that use the beak to help hide have a higher survival rate than other animals, including birds and mammals.
But the beaks of animals that rely on the soft parts of their bodies also seem to be more effective.
The findings suggest that camouflage and predator detection are important for some animals, such an arachnid.
“These are the species that use this system,” Gorsper said of the water snakes.