Camouflage, sometimes known as the Walker Guts Trick, is a rare technique used throughout The Walking Dead Universe.
It involves living humans disguising themselves to avoid being attacked by zombies, usually by masking their scent with rotting walker remains. The trick works by disguising a person's smell so that to walkers, they smell dead and can pass as fellow zombies. However, a downside is that if a person makes a noise or otherwise draws attention to themselves, the walkers surrounding them will see through the trick and attack. In addition, if rain begins washing off the guts, it washes off the smell and it loses its effectiveness.
Camouflaging oneself in this manner can be incredibly dangerous if the person using the walker guts isn't careful as noted by both Negan Smith and June Dorie who have both witnessed people getting sick from getting walker remains on them. As a result, it is a rarely-used trick, usually only done when it's the only option left as a method of escape. A person getting sick from using the trick may depend on the person in question as Gabriel Stokes got sick from covering himself in walker guts, leading to an infection that blinded him in one eye, but Negan, who used the same walker at the same time, remained perfectly healthy. While talking with the sick Gabriel, Eugene Porter suggests that he probably contracted influenza or cryptococcosis and it is likely airborne. According to Eugene, if the infection was bloodborne, Gabriel would already be dead. Notably, Rick Grimes and the Survivors typically take the precaution of wearing a covering of some kind that is smeared in the walker guts rather than smearing it directly onto their bodies. When Rick first figured out this trick, he specifically ordered those with him to be careful not to get the blood and guts onto their skin or into their eyes.
While the primary method of camouflaging oneself involves using walker guts, two other methods are known to exist: wearing walker skins and using walker "pets". In the case of the former, this is the primary method used by the Whisperers and is incredibly effective as it allows them to more easily blend in and guide herds. However, it has the same weakness as the walker guts trick, namely that making noise will draw the attention of the surrounding walkers to the fact that the person in question isn't one of them. In the case of using walker "pets", Michonne Hawthorne and briefly Andrea were able to use this to fool herds into thinking that they were also walkers without actively disguising themselves using walker guts. To keep herself safe, Michonne cuts off the arms and jaws of her "pets" so that they are rendered effectively harmless to her.
- Rick Grimes and Glenn rub Front's remains on themselves to mask themselves from the walkers in Atlanta. (Issue 4)
- Michonne travels with a pair of walkers (Mike and Terry) on a leash, which allows her to move through large groups of walkers more or less unmolested. (Issue 19)
- Rick, Carl, Jessie, and Ron attempt to sneak through the herd in Alexandria by rubbing walker remains on themselves. (Issue 83)
- The Whisperers make masks from walker skins in order to camouflage themselves among, and even steer herds. (A New Beginning-Lines We Cross)
- Lance Hornsby mentions that one of the Commonwealth residents used to cover himself with walker guts all the time prior to arriving to their community. (Issue 173)
- Rick and Glenn use walker's guts to cover their smell to walk through a horde and help the group escape Atlanta. A sudden rain storm washes the guts off, but the two men are able to reach the Atlanta Construction Site, steal a cube van and escape. (Guts)
- Carol covers herself in walker guts to discreetly help the group escape from Terminus, destroying the place in the process. (No Sanctuary)
- Rick and various members of Alexandria cover themselves in walker innards to travel around safely while a horde invades the town. However, Sam, Jessie and Ron Anderson are consumed after a frightened Sam attracts attention and Ron attempts to murder Rick. (Start to Finish, No Way Out)
- Negan and Father Gabriel use walker guts to escape from a trailer they were stuck in, however, Gabriel ends up getting sick later on as a result. (The Big Scary U)
- The Whisperers routinely disguise themselves as walkers by wearing masks made out of walker faces. Like the walker guts trick, this camouflage is not perfect and can be broken by a person drawing attention to themselves. (Season 9-Season 10)
- Daryl snaps a walker’s neck, then guts it, covering himself in its innards to disguise himself from both the walkers and the Whisperers. (Bonds)
- Daryl, Magna, Kelly, Jules, Jerry, Luke, Carol and Beatrice use walker guts to get through the horde sent by Beta in order to get to the wagon and draw them away. The camouflage proves to be incredibly effective and long-lasting, later allowing them to infiltrate the herd once again and assassinate the Whisperers one by one. Carol is then able to lead the herd over a cliff with Lydia's help. (A Certain Doom)
- Nicholas Clark regularly covers himself in walker guts throughout Season 2, in order to survive in the country of Mexico. He inadvertently discovers this trick after getting covered in the blood of a walker that he had killed which allows him to move around the herd undetected. Interestingly, even though Nick breaks his camouflage by attacking walkers, the herd dies not attack him once he starts moving away as usually happens when a person's walker camouflage is broken and instead he is able to share growls with a walker unmolested. On another occasion, seeing Nick walking with a herd in this manner greatly disturbs the La Manas gang, distracting them and causing most of the gangsters to get devoured by the herd.
- Madison Clark and Victor Strand use walker guts to escape from a herd that has them cornered inside of the Rosarito Beach Hotel bar.
- La Colonia covers themselves in walker guts in order to protect themselves from the dead while crossing the United States Border.
- In a fit of determination and frustration, Lee goes on a killing spree, walking through a horde of walkers to get to The Marsh House and rescue Clementine. He manages to go undetected, as during the rampage, he gets covered in more and more zombie blood and innards. (No Time Left)
- While Clementine, Kenny, Sarita and the surviving members of the Cabin Group plan their escape from Howe's Hardware, they get stuck while trying to figure out how to get through the incoming horde, to which Jane informs them about the walker guts trick, which Clementine can also back up. (In Harm's Way)
- The surviving group members use the walker guts and Jane’s “cowcatcher” trick to escape the hardware store’s vicinity. (Amid The Ruins)
- If Clementine decides to leave on her own after the Kenny/Jane fight, she will rub walker guts on herself and Alvin Jr. as they approach a walker herd. (No Going Back)
- Javier covers himself in walker innards to turn on a generator, distracting a group of walkers and allowing his group to get vehicles in order to save Richmond. (From The Gallows)
- Clementine, Alvin Jr., and Louis/Violet cover themselves in walker guts to get into the S.S. Stewarts Fitzgerald, using a horde lured by James. (Broken Toys)
- Minerva inadvertently disguises herself in a walker horde after killing numerous walkers and being bitten multiple times, in a deep state of infection. (Take Us Back)
- Alvin Jr. is instructed by Clementine to smear himself in walker guts in order to escape James’ Barn as she suffers from her bitten leg. Afterwards, and offscreen, he covers Clementine too and carries her out on a wheelbarrow after chopping off her leg, bringing her back to the school and saving her life. (Take Us Back)
|Abstract||Betrayal • Cliffhangers • Denial • Depression • Distrust • Discrimination • Envy • Fear • Foreshadowing • Forgiveness • Humanity • Humor • Hope • Pride • Regret • Religion • Revenge • Sacrifice • Sanity • Secrecy|
|Realistic||Amputations • Camouflage • Cannibalism • Decapitations • Framing • Heroism • Leadership • Mercy Killing • Nicknames • Punishment • Rape • Suicide • Teamwork|