What Animals Have Spots? 10 Examples with Pictures

The animal kingdom can never cease to amaze you. During a recent African safari that I had a chance to go to, I came across several animals and what I observed was interesting.

If one animal was a quick runner, the other could camouflage itself wonderfully in the savannah. While I was speaking to a wildlife photographer who accompanied us on our trip, she told us that the spots and stripes on the bodies of these animals are all for camouflage.

It took me by surprise because spots are something that I always associated with polka dots! 

Animals that have spots:

  • Leopards
  • Bengal Cats
  • Antelopes
  • Dalmatian Dogs
  • Ladybugs
  • Hyenas
  • Cheetahs
  • Panthers
  • Giraffes
  • Cows

List of animals with spots: 

1. Leopards

spotted leopard relaxing in tree 05032022

Leopards are one of the apex predators of South Africa and East Africa. The leopard is easily distinguished by its light yellow coat and black spots.

But if you observe closely, you will find that the spots are not perfect circles but tight rosettes.

The leopards found in South Africa tend to have more square-shaped rosettes. However, at a glance, these appear like spots.

Being an ambush hunter, the leopard needs to blend in with its environment before tracking its prey and hunting it.

Therefore, the savannah Biome of South Africa will mostly have leopards, and the creature needs to be camouflaged to hunt successfully in this region.

The spots on its body offer excellent camouflage, and you cannot easily find a leopard when it is hiding behind the tall grass or dry bush in the savannah.

Instead, leopards are usually sighted when they relax on tree logs or the branches of the trees.

2. Bengal cats

bengal cat sitting 05032022

Domesticated felines or cats can sometimes have stripes or spots on their coat.

But Bengal cats are known for having spots and not stripes, which sets these creatures apart from their other species.

A Bengal cat looks quite attractive with its reddish coat and its spots. To the untrained eye, the spots might even look like broken stripes.

But if you look carefully, these are individual spots, and each spot is different from the other.

Like other creatures, the spots on Bengal cats are unique, and no two Bengal cats will have similar spots.

These spots are like fingerprints, and they will be unique for the cat. However, the spots can occur in the form of bands in your Bengal cat.

3. Antelopes

chital 05032022

The antelope is a term used to refer to animals that belong to the family of Bovidae.

There are nearly one hundred and thirty-five species of animals under the category of antelopes, and one of them, the Chital, is a spotted deer.

This deer is found mainly in Sri Lanka and is a favorite prey of leopards and tigers.

The Chital moves in mixed-gender herds, and the spots offer the deer excellent camouflage in the thick tropical jungles of its natural habitat.

The beautiful creature is also easily distinguished by its unique antlers and brown coat.

In its natural habitat, the Chital usually grazes in open grasslands and woodlands near water bodies.

4. Dalmatian dogs

dalmatian dog sitting 05032022

Dalmatian dogs are another creature of the animal kingdom that have spotted coats.

Dalmatians are one of the oldest breeds of dogs, and their origin is nearly untraceable.

Some of the oldest references of Dalmatians can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphics show spotted dogs pulling chariots.

From this, experts conclude that these are probably Dalmatians.

An unusual feature of the coat of Dalmatians is that each dog has unique sets of spots. In other words, the spots on the coat of a Dalmatian dog are like a fingerprint.

The spots on the coat of one Dalmatian dog will never match with another, even if it is born in the same litter.

Another unique fact about the spots of Dalmatian dogs is that they are born without them.

However, as the pups grow older, the spots appear, and they are unique for each pup.

5. Ladybugs

ladybug on leaf 05032022

Ladybugs usually have black spots that are prominently visible against the red wings of the insect.

When you think of a ladybug, your mind probably goes back to childhood rhymes about the five dots on the back of a ladybug.

But this unique insect with the black dots on its red wings uses its spots to warn predators.

No matter how charismatic we had thought this insect to be when we were children, the red or the orange dots on its wings have an essential role in protecting the tiny insect.

The color combination of black and red or orange is known as aposematic coloration, and this is necessary to ward off predators.

Being a tiny insect, the ladybug has to use a color combination to indicate to its predators that it is unpalatable.

5. Hyenas

spotted hyena 05032022

Spotted hyenas have a slightly different appearance compared to regular hyenas. They have more muscular necks and powerful jaws.

This gives them an improved capability to bite into the prey and bring them down with ease.

The spotted hyenas can be found in and around swamp areas of Africa as well as south of the Sahara in the rainforests.

You can easily distinguish the spotted hyena by the ginger-colored coat and the spots throughout its body.

Like the Dalmatians, the spots on the hyenas are also unique, which means no two hyenas will have the same spots.

This is because hyenas are primarily nocturnal creatures and the spots help the creatures camouflage.

Spots on the hyenas act as camouflage helping them to hide in the tall grass on the outskirts of the Sahara or the rainforest. 

7. Cheetahs

spotted cheetah 05032022

Cheetahs are creatures whose entire body is covered densely with spots. A single cheetah can have up to two thousand spots covering its body.

The spots are a signature look of a cheetah.

It is common knowledge that the spots on a cheetah help the creature camouflage in its natural habitat.

The natural habitat of a cheetah is grasslands, and you will find these creatures lurking in the grey shadows of these tall grasses.

So the best way to camouflage one in grasslands would be to have spots, and the cheetah’s body is covered with several spots.

But along with camouflage, a cheetah is also covered in spots to protect itself from other predators. This is applicable, especially in the case of baby cheetahs.

8. Panthers

spotted panther 05032022

Black panthers are animals with dark fur and they are one of the earth’s rarest creatures.

The black coat of the panther is covered with black rosettes like leopards.

The panther is an umbrella term used to cover most big cats, and that can be leopards, cheetahs, tigers and the regular dark-coated jaguars.

But the black panther, a melanistic Indian leopard, is covered in dark rosettes that appear as spots.

This elusive creature is quite challenging to spot and is found chiefly in the Southern hills of India.

The dark spots on the black panther’s coat almost disappear against its black coat. But when you observe, you can distinguish the outline of the rosette.

The primary reason for these rosettes is that the origin of the black panther is the spotted leopard.

The dark spots on the body of the black panther allow it to blend in with the dark tropical forests and this acts as camouflage.

9. Giraffes

spotted giraffe 05032022

When you look at a giraffe, you will find that the spots on the creature are easily distinguishable.

The spots often appear like patches and are spread throughout the creature’s body.

The patches help the giraffe camouflage, and you will find that it helps the giraffe hide behind the trees in the African forest.

But the spots on the bodies of the giraffes also serve another purpose. Research shows that many blood vessels branch off to smaller blood vessels beneath each spot.

This is necessary to help control the temperature of the giraffe’s body. In other words, the patches in the body of the giraffe act like a thermal window.

It helps in managing the heat and maintaining the overall body temperature.

Thus, the spots on the giraffe’s body play an essential role in helping the creature camouflage while maintaining the overall body temperature in hot climates.

10. Cows

spotted cow 05032022

Cows sometimes have spots on their bodies. But if you have observed cows on ranches and farms, you will find that these are different from the spots found on the other creatures in the wild.

Cows bred on ranches or farms do not have to camouflage themselves from predators.

Hence, their spots are almost like large patches on their skin.

You might come across a cow with large black or brown patches on the back or the underside.

The otherwise cow has dark patches on several parts of its body. These light and dark patches on its body confuse the horseflies’ visions. Horseflies have polarised vision.

Therefore when light is reflected from the dark and light patches on the skin of the cows, the horseflies are unable to distinguish the skin of the cows.

This inability to distinguish the cow’s body prevents the horseflies from sitting on the creature.

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