I'm working on a big feline who lives in savannas and grasslands. It's a solitary ambush predator, 1,4m / 4' 7'' to the shoulder, preys upon medium and big animals (antelopes, buffaloes, camelids, ground sloths), not very fast but powerful. My question is, what's the best camouflage for an animal like this? or it doesn't matter? I mean, we have tigers with stripes, cheetahs and leopards with spots, lions and pumas plain yellow/brown, African wild dogs with yellow, red and black spots, etc. What kind of fur would be better for this really big cat?

A more detailed image of the savanna/grassland: climate like Africa, very few trees, reddish-brown stones, shrubs and grasses between 30cm-1,2m / 1-4foot tall.

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    $\begingroup$ What time of day do they like to hunt? $\endgroup$ Feb 21, 2022 at 7:11
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    $\begingroup$ You seem to be aware that there are felines taht more or less match your description. Maybe you should let us know why you are not using them? $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Feb 21, 2022 at 14:03
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    $\begingroup$ This description perfectly matches the smilodon or sabretooth $\endgroup$
    – raulmd13
    Feb 21, 2022 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ You're received some well-received answers - but all they've done is explain how your feline could be camouflaged. Camo only makes sense when being hunted. Does your feline have predators? If not, no camo is needed. If so, we need to know more about those predators so we can give you more specific answers. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Feb 22, 2022 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ "Camo only makes sense when being hunted."? Camo lets the predator get close enough to pounce. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Feb 22, 2022 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


Multi-Scale Camouflage

According to decades of military research, multi-scale camouflage is the most effective pattern you can use for passive camouflage, and has become the basis for most passive camouflage patterns used today. The idea behind multi-scale camouflage is that your pattern has large chunks of colors, but those large chunks are super imposed with smaller patterns as well. This style of patterning is effective for 2 reasons.

  1. In nature, objects tend to have multiple scales like this. IE: a pattern of rocks contains smaller patterns of bumps and shadows or a pattern of branches contains smaller patterns of leaves, so on and so forth. So, multi-scale camouflage most accurately represents a typical environment you would need to blend into.
  2. When you use camo that has too small of a pattern, it loses contrast at a distance and all the colors blend together so that it fails to disrupt your outline. When your pattern is too big, it fails to disrupt your outline at closer ranges because the pattern blocks become large flat visual objects themselves. Multi-scale camouflage works at both near and far ranges unlike any single-scale pattern can.

So for Savana, you want a pattern that looks sort of like this:

enter image description here

One thing to note though is that the "digital" patterns used in military camo are not necessarily the best shape, it's just easier to design and manufacture. In nature, multi-scale camouflage can be made up of more amorphous shapes.

enter image description here

Of the existing Savana large game predators, the best camo probably belongs to the African wild dog because its fur pattern includes these sorts of large color blocks disrupted by smaller patterns. Their exact patterning is more ideal for the arid forests around the edges of the Savana than the open grassy parts, but by minimizing the the deep blacks, and focusing more on yellow, orange, tan, and umber using the same general patterning, you should have an ideal tall grass ambush hunter.

enter image description here


The best camouflage depends on the visual skills of the target preys of this feline.

It's well known that the tiger stripes, for example, are effective at hiding it from the view of dichromats (a), while for trichromats (b) they are pretty flashy

enter image description here

As another example, to somebody using IR visors or echolocation, a person wearing a mimetic suit is as visible as if they were naked.

Therefore you should first decide which type of vision the preys of this feline have, and then design its camouflage based on that.

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    $\begingroup$ I fully agree that the coloring matters based on the optical range of the prey, but this question seems to only 1/2 answer the question. Spots, stripes, patches, flat, etc. may all have specific strengths and weaknesses regardless of the color range of of the prey animals eyes. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Feb 23, 2022 at 15:40

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