Back Away from the Blonde: Animals with Warning Colors

ferrari‘Ooh I love it!’  My friend screamed in the middle of the car dealership. Although we all know they are a target for the cops, she was instantly taken by the  glitzy red Ferrari. ‘It’s so pretty and shiny and exciting, I want it!’

As we rolled down the block for a test drive,  pedestrians left and right turned their heads to the car. ‘This is ridiculous,’ I thought.  But, I couldn’t help stare at it myself. Humans are wired to be attracted to bright things.

Marilyn MonroeThe casinos in Vegas draw us in like a fly to a fluorescent light.  An ice cream cone doesn’t look quite the same without those colored sprinkles.  Take a walk down 5th Ave and watch the heads turn at the Tiffany’s window – diamonds and 14 karat gold sparkling everywhere (guys, don’t tell me that you don’t take a quick glance at the latest Rolex models). Rainbow Brite would not have been so popular if she were named ‘Rainbow shades of Black and Grey’.

And hey, let’s be honest- I’m not saying blondes have all the fun, but study after study shows they do get much more attention than the average brunette.

Yet, in the animal world, the exact opposite occurs. Bright colors are synonymous with danger. Animals are trained to stay away from pretty, shiny, glowing creatures. Phosphorescence is a clear warning sign ‘poison up ahead’. Spots and bold patterns mean ‘back off buddy.’

Blu ringed octopsTake the Blue ringed octopus of Australia for example: one bite can kill 26 humans. The Coral snake of North America has funky bands and stripes on its body to warn of it’s neurotoxic venom.

You know  that cute little  arrow dart frog that looks like porcelain and fits in your hand? It secretes a chemical, Homobatrachotoxin, 500 times more potent than morphine. Non-coincidentally,  scientists just discovered that a bright black and orange  bird from New Guinea, called the Hooded Pitohui, actually carries this same toxin in its feathers.

Need I even mention the infamous Monarch butterfly; How many innocent lizards have met an ill fate ingesting one of these flying candy canes? RIP, my little dinosaur friends.

monarch and mimic

Heck, it’s so effective to be obnoxiously beautiful, different species try to mimic the same aposematic color patterns of their toxic friends.  In the biological world this is known as Batesian Mimicry; blonde hair dye anyone?

So, If bright colors are dangerous, why are humans drawn to them while most species know to stay away? Maybe we should take a hint from our animal counterparts instead of learning it the hard way, as one WikiAnswers user asked:

Are blonde girls more likely to break your heart?

Yes they are.

Their yellow hair stands out in a crowd. Blondes pretty much know the power they have over men and women. Don’t be fooled.

So, there you have it, all you need in life to stay happy and safe is a brunette.brunette

4 thoughts on “Back Away from the Blonde: Animals with Warning Colors

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