We were moving some boxes, the other day, and coming up the back pathway when Ben spotted a young field mouse among the gravel at the edge of the path. The mouse was hiding in plain sight, having turned itself into a little grey ball, and was trying to blend in discreetly with the surrounding grey rocks.
Here are a couple of photos I took with my iPhone, the first from a distance of about 12 inches, the second from 4 or 5 inches away. The little mouse did not move the entire time, as if frozen.
We could not even tell that it was breathing. We could almost hear it thinking “I’m a rock… I’m a rock… I’m invisible…”
It may have realized that the game was up when we pointed out to it that “furry rocks with ears and eyes were a little uncommon.”
At that point, it ran away, dodging one of Ben’s boots as it was about to collide with it, and making it safely back to its mother’s den apparently located in between some large rocks by our kitchen door. I’m sure that little mouse thought this was a very close call.
Deer also adopt this “invisibility mode” when they find themselves in proximity to humans or other animals. They freeze in place, not moving a muscle. Their colouring allows them to blend perfectly into the background, and we have often noted that were it not for their large ears, or their white butt fur when they freeze facing the wrong way, they would be almost impossible to see.