10 Marvelously Masked Animals

Masked animals - Mandrill, primate
(Photo: Natalia Paklina/Shutterstock)

Across the animal kingdom, there is great variety in coloration and markings — but perhaps the most amusing patterns of those that make critters appear to be wearing masks. The mandrill shown above is the most colorful of all primate species — and the colors become more vivid as the creatures become excited. As with many bird species, the males have the brightest coloration to attract female mates.

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Pink Underwing Moth Caterpillars

Masked animals - Pink underwing moth caterpillar
(Photo: Lui Weber/Flickr)

Pink underwing moth caterpillars look as though they have their faces painted for the Day of the Dead! As you can imagine, the skull-like pigmentation serves to scare away predators. This Australian species is facing extinction, according to the Daily Mail.

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Masked Lapwing

Masked animals - Masked plover
(Photo: Anna Norris)

The masked lapwing is so-called for its yellow wattles. It seems that everything about this bird is loud, from its bright face to its piercing calls and aggressive nest-guarding behaviors.

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Black-Footed Ferret

Masked animals - Black-footed ferret
(Photo: USFWS Mountain Prairie/Flickr)

The black-footed ferret has a bandit-like mask, similar to the markings found on raccoons. And like raccoons, this endangered ferret (also known as the American polecat or prairie dog hunter) is nocturnal. Black bands around the eyes are thought to help nocturnal animals see better in the dark.

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Mute Swans

Masked animals - Swan
(Photo: Curioso/Shutterstock)

With their black-lined bills and large knob, mute swans also look like they're wearing masks.

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Red Panda

Masked animals - Red Panda
(Photo: Anna Norris)

More reminiscent of a raccoon than a panda, red pandas are most active in the hours between dusk and dawn. Their varying coloration helps them to blend into the trees, where they spend most of their days lounging.

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White-Crested Laughing Thrush

Masked animals - White-crested laughing thrush
(Photo: Anna Norris)

One of the boldest masks can be found on the white-crested laughing thrush. Named for their cackling calls, these birds are quite social.

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Tuxedo Cat

Masked animals - Tuxedo cat
(Photo: Tatinax/Flickr)

Tuxedo cats have black and white spots of many shapes and sizes. Every now and then, the felines' facial markings resemble a mask. (Talk about "cat burglars"!)

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Southern Masked Weaver

Masked animals - Masked weaver
(Photo: Mogens Trolle/Shutterstock)

The southern masked weaver is boldly colored during the mating season to attract the ladies. Its mask almost covers its entire face, and the contrast of the mask with piercing red eyes is striking.

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Masked animals - Raccoon
(Photo: Lars Christensen/Shutterstock)

And who could forget the masked crusader of trash cans himself, the raccoon? Sure, the black coloration helps these food-bandits sneak around in the night, but it can also help the nocturnal mammals identify one another.

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