Zombies relentless hunt humans in hopes of getting their next meal. Their motivation and endurance in this matter is unparalleled. The question is, how do they tell the difference between a human and other zombies? When we compare the two, the answer is blatantly obvious. A zombie is a moving pile of rotting flesh that is neither alive nor dead. A human interacts socially, communicates and attempts to cooperate with other humans (for the most part). A human is clearly alive and their body functions like a living mammal.
Zombies need to differentiate between their prey and other zombies. The most obvious way to do this is by sight. Zombies look like rotting corpses and humans look alive and healthy. If they use this method to identify their prey, the best camouflage would be to look like a zombie. Tattered, dirty clothing, and fake blood smeared over your body is a good start. Movement is very important. If zombies amble slowly, dragging their broken limbs in pursuit of their prey, then that is the way you have to move. If they move quickly, then that’s the way you have to move.
Impersonating a zombie may seem like too simple of an idea. In reality, zombies will not likely be fooled by such a tactic. A predatory creature like a zombie, will likely rely on their sense of smell when hunting it’s prey. Now you have to smell like a zombie. A good example of this tactic is The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 2. Rick and Glen smear zombie remains on their clothing and walked among the zombies unnoticed. Zombies in this instance, differentiated between humans and zombies through smell.
The downside to smelling like a zombie is you must smear infected zombie fluids and flesh on you in order to smell the part. Protective clothing is definitely a good idea. The zombie plague is an infection, and what better way to get infected than covering yourself in zombie guts. You run a serious risk of becoming infected with this strategy. In The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 2, it was their only choice, so they had to risk it.
The World War Z zombie camouflage is an elegant idea. Using deadly pathogens to make yourself appear to be mortally ill comes with obvious risks. This particular zombie camouflage tactic only will work if you can verify zombies pass over sickly or ill humans. This tactic is a long term weapon against the zombie plague. In a pinch, you may not be able to infect yourself with some other deadly pathogen, so I would not count on it in a situation where you need solutions fast.
The two main zombie camouflage tactics we outlined are risky. Dressing up like a zombie, dragging your leg as you walk, and moaning may not fool them. If it doesn’t work, then you will find yourself engrossed in a zombie horde that wants to rip you apart. Smearing zombie remains on yourself to smell like a zombie runs the risk of infecting yourself. Smelling like a zombie may not work and you run the same risk as if you just looked the part. Our recommendation is don’t be the first person to attempt these camouflage tactics. Let someone who is dumber or more desperate try and see what happens. If these don’t work, you won’t get a second chance. Rick and Glen used them as a last resort in The Walking Dead. We would only attempt them as a last resort unless we knew they were proven to work.