Optical Illusions In Nature: 40+ Mind-Bending Images That Challenge Perception

By Jhoana C

Once in a while, we find ourselves going down the rabbit hole of the Internet, where we come across some of the most amazing and downright weird images that have a way of burrowing deep into our brains.

These are the kinds of photos that make you say, “Really?” The Internet is a repository of funny, cool, and sometimes insane pictures with misleading thumbnails. With some of them, after they grab your attention and you try to look at the bigger picture, you’ll realize that it’s entirely different from what you first thought it was.

These are the kinds of pictures that fall into the category of optical illusions. Today, we have compiled a list of 45 of them for you. Fair warning, what you see here isn’t exactly what you get!

Want some Nutella with your baguette?

This is a fine example of “Where I fits, I sits.” But in this case, the little kitty is not sitting down but sleeping in a loaf pan. If you don’t take a closer look, you’ll probably believe that it’s a baguette with fur.

Image courtesy of spaztronomical/Reddit

You know how cats loaf? The way they sometimes sit or doze off in a way that makes them look like a loaf of bread because you can’t see their paws or tail? This seems to be some kind of update on that feature. A French update, to be precise!

Choo choo train speeding a tunnel.

Some people have nightmares of being run over by a train. But we wouldn’t mind it if the train was this cute! Just look at those big eyes. We suspect that this train loves the smell of tuna and chasing mice around the house.

Image courtesy of sgibbons746/Reddit

If you want to get to your destination fast when aboard this train, try and get on when it has the zoomies. We can’t guarantee your safety, but we can assure you that you will reach your final destination faster than the metro!

This yummy lunch salad.

Contrary to what most people believe, salads don’t have to be bland. You don’t have to seem like you are just eating grass. The trick is choosing a variety of greens seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper, the right dressing, and adding different textures like nuts and croutons.

Image courtesy of sgibbons746/Reddit

You’d likely be eager to devour this salad until you took a closer and longer look at it. Yes, these are tiny, little parrots. Aren’t they adorable? Also, can they all fit in there without sitting (standing?) on each other?

Have some pasta and guacamole.

Who doesn’t love pasta? We think anyone who doesn’t like pasta should be sent to jail. It’s one of the best comfort foods you can ever have, especially when cooked by an Italian grandma. Guacamole is a popular snack, too. We just can’t resist avocados.

Image courtesy of mcampo84/Reddit

However, this is one spaghetti and guacamole pairing we just can’t eat, no matter how much we want to. Toads are just a no-no for a healthy diet. Some of them are even poisonous. However, they look snug and comfortable in their bowls.

Those are nice curves.

We love curves, especially if they are all in the right places. When we saw this picture, we were instantly reminded of Kate Winslet’s pose in Titanic when she asked Leonardo DiCaprio to draw her like one of his French girls.

Image courtesy of paperwasp/Reddit

It is reminiscent of her lying on that sofa and posing wearing nothing but the Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace around her neck. But these curves don’t belong to any woman. They’re glaciers. But they’re damn sexy ones, though!

Wow, that girl can do an impressive split!

So many of us were frustrated as children when we couldn’t do the splits. Being able to do this was a much-coveted skill back then. How we wished we could all do the splits like this bride. Damn, she has long legs!

Image courtesy of hobocheese88/Reddit

We don’t know what the photographer was thinking when he asked the couple to pose like this. He mustn’t have thought how the photo would look from afar. It doesn’t look safe, either. What if the wood plank she was sitting on was to break?

Wow, you have a big nose!

What happened to the dog’s nose?! That’s the first thing we thought of when we saw this photo. It looked horribly deformed and too large for the dog’s tiny face. But after taking a closer look, we saw a hamster or similar small critter hanging on there for dear life.

Image courtesy of cullenscottt/Reddit

We have to commend the dog for being extra patient with his playful little friend. The photo may have been a little terrifying to look at at first, but after taking everything in, you’ll realize that it’s actually super cute.

I wouldn’t wear anything like that.

Imagine that you were scrolling through your phone when you came across this thumbnail. Your first thought would be, “What a trashy bride! Why would she wear something like that on her wedding day?” Well, you need to hold your horses.

Image courtesy of vidoardes/Reddit

She’s not trashy at all. Another woman’s shoulder and arms accidentally got into the… Uhm… wrong places. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Or, in this instance, a picture by its thumbnail.

The wood is splitting apart because of the heat.

Gathering and splitting firewood is one of those things millennials and the latter generations don’t know much about, but if you ask the older generation, they’ll tell you it’s one of those jobs that had to be done. Not only do you get a sense of accomplishment, but you also get to exercise your arms.

Image courtesy of Tgumpsta/Reddit

But these pieces of firewood don’t need splitting. They can split and move all by themselves. See those legs? It is a group of meerkats trying to warm themselves under a light. Could they be discussing their future winter plans?

Those bananas are looking delicious.

According to reports, more than 10 billion bananas are consumed all over the world each year. Wow, that’s a lot! We sure do love our bananas. What’s not to love? Bananas taste good and are a healthy source of potassium, fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Image courtesy of FirstWhistle/Reddit

We will eat bananas any day except for this one. It’s the wrong variety of bananas. They might look ripe, but they hiss and might possibly be poisonous. Try peeling and eating one, and you’ll see exactly what we mean.

That’s some chubby sundae.

Admit it, one of your favorite things about going to McDonald’s is their dessert offering. We love the sundae very much, and order it every time we are at Mickey D’s. There’s nothing like a cold and delicious treat after devouring a big burger and fries.

Image courtesy of MaXcRiMe/Reddit

However, this sundae looks extra chubby, and it has eyes too! Not to mention, it’s missing its cup. We’re here just wondering why it hasn’t melted yet and dripped on the table. Mickey D’s must have made a few alterations to their sundae recipe.

Wow, they have plenty of ducks over there.

Related to swans and geese, ducks are aquatic birds that live in both sea and freshwater. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Interestingly, a female duck is called a hen or just a duck, while a male duck is called a drake.

Image courtesy of MaXcRiMe/Reddit

We’re not sure if the ducks you see in the photo are male or female. We’re just sure there’s plenty of them enjoying their time in the water. Or are those ducks? Take a closer look, and you’ll find out. Hint: some people probably missed work and had late pizza deliveries because of this!

Happy chickens hitching a ride

As of December 2018, it was stated that 65 million chickens are consumed yearly. There are approximately 23 billion chickens on Earth at any given time; that’s about 40 times more than sparrows and 10 more times than any other bird.

Image courtesy of Flaming_Ice_/Reddit

Just look at those chickens on the back of a vehicle. They seem to be happy and content where they are. They don’t have any plans of flying off anytime soon. Well, maybe that’s because they can’t fly at all. They are gallons of milk.

A new motherboard.

The motherboard, sometimes called the mainboard, is the central part of a computer. Numerous computer parts are connected to it, and without it, the computer would not be able to function correctly. The motherboard is also one of a computer’s most often replaced parts.

Image courtesy of Keatoneatin247/Reddit

This motherboard is huge. It covers hundreds of square feet in space and is bigger than a car. But as you have probably realized by now, this is not a machine component. It’s an aerial view of the top of a building.

Get out of the lava’s way.

Two of the scariest things about volcanoes are when they erupt and when they spew hot molten lava. If you’ve ever seen the movie Dante’s Peak, you know what we mean. We still can’t forget that image of the grandma pushing the boat as she sustains chemical burns.

Image courtesy of skrrtskrrtspermworm/Reddit

Staying away from lava is a no-brainer because, as you know, it can cause serious burns. See the lava in the photo? Well, it’s not exactly the type that can cause danger because those are clouds. We know, it had us fooled too.   

That’s one big ethernet hub.

If you are someone who works with or near computers, you would probably do a double-take after spotting this photo. It looks like an ethernet hub. For the uninitiated, an ethernet hub, sometimes called a network hub, is a device used to connect multiple Ethernet devices.

Image courtesy of athanathios/Reddit

A hub with this many ports can connect more than 40 Ethernet devices. That said, this is just a commercial building. We have to give props to the man who designed this building because the windows look exactly like Ethernet ports.

Call an ambulance

This girl looks like she just lost a fight with Jaws! That’s what we thought anyway, considering that her leg looks mangled. Just think of the scars she’ll have once her leg is healed. How she got free from the shark and back on the grass must be a story worth watching in a cinema!

Image courtesy of BunnyAdorbs/Reddit

Before you say ewww, that’s just her brown slouchy bag. But the way it’s placed next to her leg and the way her face kinda looks like it’s writhing in agony almost gives you the sense that her grave injury is giving her a very difficult time.

Someone gave us an antelope skull.

Related to cows, goats, and sheep, antelopes live in Asia, Africa, and Western America. True antelopes keep their antlers, and when you’re in the desert, it’s not uncommon to come across antelope skulls, such as the one here in the photo.

Image courtesy of dvz1/Imgur

This antelope skull seems to be very tired from his little excursion. It’s drained and passed out on the sofa. Well, don’t be surprised if this antelope skull starts barking and jumping around once it wakes up. It may want to play a game of catch too!

My sheet’s been burned.

We’re wondering what got into this guy’s head that he put a scorching hot cast iron pan on his bed. The only things you can expect from that are burn marks and holes in your bedding. He’s lucky he didn’t get burned in the first place.

Image courtesy of chafedog/Imgur

We all know that when you’re cooking, you typically stay in the kitchen, and taking pans and skillets with you in the bedroom is never a good idea. However, this is the kind of pan that purrs and loves catnip. In addition to that, lounging on the bed is one of its favorite things.

Such a waste of good leather

Leather couches are considered to be a luxury. You might have heard a few things about leather furniture, such as leather not being comfortable to sit on and that it can be easily damaged. Well, these are just myths. If you take care of your leather sofa, it can last a really long time.

Image courtesy of RLG_James/Reddit

However, this leather sofa has been torn. It’s such a pity. Can you see the split? If you’re having a hard time with that, it may be because the photo looks like that of a boat in the water. Or are our eyes deceiving us? What is it? We leave it to you to decide.

Yum! Glazed pastries.

Glazed pastries make excellent snack or breakfast options. We love them, and we always can’t wait to take a bite out of them. However, these are the types of pastries we won’t even get close to. They may look enticing, but we’ll just have to decline politely.

Image courtesy of Shnazzyone/Reddit

Not only do these pastries slither, but they also hiss, and they will bite back if you try to eat them because reaching out means provoking them. First, it was bananas, and now this? Let’s just say that you should be more careful when getting snacks from now on!

Why would you take a bath with King Tut?

Should this picture be a cause for concern? It sure looks like it at first glance. Look at those burnt and emaciated legs on the right. They look like all life has been drained from them. But it turns out that we had nothing to worry about.

Image courtesy of Knighthawk1441/Reddit

It’s just a man and his dog having a grand time in the bath. If you think of it, the dog has really pretty legs and feet. But the bigger question is, what kind of shoes has this man been wearing that he has bunions like that?

How would you like a beak to go with your sushi?

One of the most famous Japanese foods enjoyed all over the world is sushi. 62% of Americans love it. Although Americans didn’t initially embrace sushi, they have warmed up to it. Today, it’s a $22 billion industry, and there are more than 4,000 sushi bars in the US alone.

Image courtesy of aRealAmateur/Reddit

But the sushi you see in this photo is unique. It has a distinct beak, and it has two eyes too. It can also sing like a canary. We would love to hear this sushi sing in the morning. We’re quite sure it knows a tune or two.

Let’s go giraffe-spotting

Are you a giraffe lover? This is a good place to go giraffe-spotting. They are the tallest mammals on Earth and are pretty impressive when it comes to speed because they can run as fast as 35 miles per hour.

Image courtesy of Uniqueusername111112/Reddit

Look at all of them gazing up at the sky as if admiring the heavens. They sure look impressive against the sunset. We can certainly see someone buying a photo like this and hanging it up somewhere in their house or office. Well, unless they realize that these are cranes first!

Curly-haired man attempting a dive.

How do you execute the perfect dive? Those who have grown up near the water and have been swimming since they were little will probably know how to. However, for those of us who don’t even know how to swim, it’s a different story.

Image courtesy of danish-pastry/Reddit

This curly-haired diver is about to execute the perfect dive. He’d better get on it, as the sea monster behind him is not pleased and looks like he’s about to pounce. If you take a closer look, though, you’ll see it’s actually a lady in a snorkeling mask with a sea urchin on her palm.

This man can’t see clearly with his eyeglasses.

What’s the point of getting eyeglasses when your vision becomes worse right after wearing them? It defeats the purpose of the eyeglasses in the first place. We’re sure this guy is thinking of writing a letter of complaint to the ophthalmologist.

Image courtesy of kalup_pollo/Reddit

This wasn’t what he had in mind when he was told to get some eyeglasses. Could it be because he is wearing a mask, and the glasses got a little foggy? Well, thankfully, that’s not it because what you’re looking at is a bridge, and what you see below is its reflection on the water.

What in the world are those?

We know what you’re thinking; this man must be a pervert letting all of his “possessions” hang out like that. Someone probably saw this and thought, “Nobody wants to see that, Mister, so you better be proper before I call the cops on you.”

Image courtesy of JukeboxSommelier/Reddit

If that was you, you can calm down and stop your blood pressure from going any higher. There’s nothing salacious happening here. It’s just his daughter’s feet between his legs. You can look away; there’s nothing much to see here.

The farmer busy working in his field

Being the owner of a farm and tilling the land yourself can be challenging, especially if there’s no extra pair of hands to help you. So, we would like to commend all farmers like this one who are hard at work, ensuring that we have food on our tables.

Image courtesy of ozone3030/Reddit

They work under the hot sun, ensuring that their crops have all the nutrients they can get and are safe from pests. However, that’s not a farmer working in a field. It’s a frame from the movie The Matrix with a cursor on it. Yes, the cursor is wearing a hat. Or is it?

Is that a plane on an orange?

Now this one had us confused and scratching our heads for a minute. It’s incredible what you can do with photography these days. On one hand, someone said this was a microscopic view of a tweezer picking an organism up from a dish. Why does it look like an orange, though?

Image courtesy of DlxSwgMstr/Reddit

It also looks like an airplane with contrails behind it. But how can the airplane be on an orange? Hmmm, this makes us want to use our brain cells to think. Out of the three, which do you think makes the most sense?

Come here Froggie

Cosplaying has gotten huge over the past few years. Most big cities have yearly cosplay conventions where people can dress up and pretend that they’re someone else. It’s kind of like Halloween but without the Trick or Treating and with way cooler characters.

Image courtesy of pjlear/Reddit

Just look at these two men in frog costume on their way to the convention. Seriously though, these are people wearing Class “A” Haz-Mat suits. The stuff on their back that makes them look like hunchbacks is a breathing apparatus.

Catch ‘em all

What came to your mind first after you saw this photo? Well, to us, it looked like somebody’s Pokemon card collection. Remember those? They were very popular a few years ago. But take a second look, and you’ll think it’s a spread of Tarot cards.

Image courtesy of ThePizzaDoc/Reddit

Both previous answers are wrong, though. This is St. John’s Cathedral, located in the capital of Malta, Valletta. The floor is covered with numerous tombstones. The church is considered one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Europe. Time to put this on the bucket list.

This is a disturbing doll.

When we look at this picture, the first that comes to mind is a poppet. A poppet is a doll that’s made to represent a person. These dolls are used in witchcraft to cast spells, and help or hurt that person through the use of magic.

Image courtesy of opheliamobley/Reddit

We’re not saying that the lady is a witch, but she sure looks like she’s showing off her doll to friends. The thing is, she‘s only holding a brown bag filled with, we don’t know what. The other lady just happened to pass by at the exact time the photo was taken.

Let’s get our sewing going. 

When sewing, either by hand or by machine, you have got to be careful. You wouldn’t want that extra sharp part anywhere around your fingers because you don’t want to injure yourself. Wanna see what a needle passing through cotton looks like? Take a look at the photo.

Image courtesy of incognityo/Reddit

In reality, there’s no needle there. That’s a rocket being launched into space. It looks tiny in the grand scheme of things and makes you realize just what a small space we occupy in this world. On second thought, it also looks like a close-up of a candle wick. Hmm.

We’d like some of the bacon, please.

Bacon is the reason why some people have a hard time giving up meat. The word bacon means meat from the back of an animal. Although 70% of bacon in the United States is eaten during breakfast, it can typically be eaten anytime. We’ll even eat it for dinner!

Image courtesy of MattCloudy/Reddit

Slices of bacon this big would be a dream! But they don’t sell this kind in stores, so it might be a specialty type. The only sad part is that this type of bacon can cause stomach complaints because it’s actually made of wood!

That’s a lot of bacteria on a petri dish.

When we speak of bacteria and germs, we naturally squirm away and jump backward in fright. We tend to avoid them as much as possible because they can make you sick. Bugs, especially tiny ones like that, can bring the world to a standstill if they spread out of control.

Image courtesy of gdogg897/Reddit

Well, these just happen to be the cutest and most harmless bacteria we’ve ever seen. They’re busy moving about the petri dish, looking for a way to escape. They are very colorful and tiny. This is the only kind of bacteria we wanna see growing in a dish.

Don’t do that to the dog!

Dogs are man’s best friend. Not only do they love you unconditionally, but they also know when to comfort you. They are heaven-sent. Just ask anybody or any family who has grown up with a dog, and they’ll tell you how much joy they have brought to their lives.

Image courtesy of nothisagain/Imgur

So, we were alarmed when we saw this picture of a fellow throwing a dog out of a helicopter. Thankfully, we were relieved when we watched the whole video and found out that it was just a man throwing his Corgi in the snow, and the dog was loving it!

You need to patch this hole.

What would a black hole be doing in the kitchen? Aren’t they usually only found in deep space? That’s what we asked ourselves after seeing this photo. Maybe we ought to turn to those science guys for answers. They might know a thing or two.

Image courtesy of bananahands0666/Reddit

Not only did this black hole appear on the kitchen floor, but it also has two eyes, a nose, and an extra shiny coat. To be honest, it looks extra cute! If you have never understood the concept of puppy dog eyes, this is it in action.

Something for surfers

Tube riding is a popular thing among surfers. It’s used to describe riding inside a curve or a barrel, and it’s one of the many popular adrenaline-pumping sports. The person in the picture seems to be in the wrong environment.

Image courtesy of Redbaron1701/Reddit

Why is someone dressed in winter gear tube surfing? It’s a little confusing, right? Well, the thing is, the person isn’t exactly somewhere tropical. She’s somewhere icy cold and making her way through what seems to be an ice tunnel.

The Easter Island has fallen.

Good heavens! Unknown forces have attacked Easter Island, and the statues have fallen. Look at them on the ground! Oh, that’s not an Easter Island statue? We are so relieved! For a second there, we thought that the World Heritage Site had been ransacked.

Image courtesy of daymanahaha/Reddit

Also called Rapa Nui, the Polynesian Island is located in the Pacific Ocean and is a territory of Chile. It’s most famous for the more than 800 massive statues called moai, which look eerily similar to this old, destroyed jerrycan.

How did a crab get on my music sheet?

Though it’s said that listening to music enhances physical performance, there are people who feel nothing towards music at all. But we adore music, and we are sure that most people do. If you play a musical instrument, then you probably know how to read sheet music.

Image courtesy of habby_benis/Reddit

We are just curious how this crab got onto this particular sheet. What note is that exactly? How long do you play it for? Well, thankfully, it turns out that it’s just a dog’s face peering out from the snow.

The Amazon River is amazing.

Look at this aerial view of the Amazon River. It makes you realize just how grand it is. It’s one of the best places to go if you’re someone who loves nature and adventure. It’s the world’s largest tropical rainforest and covers more than 5 million square kilometers.

Image courtesy of Zetbor/Reddit

Located in South America, it spans multiple countries, such as Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Colombia, French Guiana, and Suriname. We just have one question, though; the river looks very much like the track of a caterpillar eating a leaf.

Get well soon, Mark!

If you’ve ever used Facebook or read the news in the past ten years, then you definitely know who Mark Zuckerberg is. He is one of the richest people in the world and has a net worth of several billions, according to Forbes.

Image courtesy of flyingfrig/Reddit

It seems that his health has taken a turn for the worse, and he’s in the hospital right now. He is being treated and is expected to make a full recovery. Seriously though, this picture is unsettling because the mannequin looks exactly like Mark Zuckerberg.

The amazing vista of Jupiter.

Jupiter is not only the biggest planet; it is also the fastest-spinning planet in the solar system. It has magnetic fields 14 times stronger than that of the Earth, and it has 67 moons. Most of us have seen photos of it and the lucky few have seen it through a telescope.

Image courtesy of Thors_Goat/Reddit

This vista of Jupiter is incredible. If you look a little closer, you will see signs of life! There are a few ducks, grass, and plenty of water. We certainly heard some quacking when we pointed the telescope their way.

When we used to go to concerts

Don’t you just miss the times when we could go anywhere and not have to wear a mask? Don’t you miss walking down the aisle of an airplane and looking forward to finally reaching your destination, especially when it’s somewhere you have never been?

Image courtesy of qwartet/Reddit

Another thing we badly missed was going to concerts. Seeing and hearing our favorite bands play and rocking with the rest of the fans is always fun. We miss the sights of crowds just banging and having a good time. The only thing wrong with this concert is that it’s happening on a carpet!

Watch out for the iceberg.

If there’s one thing that icebergs have taught us it’s that they should be respected. Don’t believe us? Just look at what happened to Titanic. The mighty, ‘unsinkable’ ship sunk because it hit an iceberg. Hundreds of lives went down with that ship on that fateful night.

Image courtesy of kulpiterxv/Reddit

So, if you see an iceberg somewhere, you should be careful. This particular iceberg will certainly leave you in awe. It’s massive, and it looks very much like an animal. Well, that’s because it’s a bison covered in ice. So, you probably won’t see it anywhere near the ocean.