The Snake Optical Illusion Is Freaking Out The Internet

by Lily Feinn
michalsulc1 / 500px/500px/Getty Images

If you were a fan of Magic Eye or Where's Waldo? books back in the day, I've got excellent news: There's a new photo going viral on Twitter that will put your image-finding abilities to the test. The snake optical illusion is totally freaking out the internet, and for good reason — the potentially dangerous reptile has proven extremely difficult to locate, leaving a number of Twitter users baffled and uneasy. Spend a few minutes trying to find the artfully camouflaged Copperhead snake blending in with a pile of leaves and you, too, may think twice about lacing up those hiking boots.

The viral photo of the North American Copperhead, also known as the Agkistrodon contortrixin, was first taken by Jerry Davis of Shepherd, TX on April 22, but it didn't start to trend online until Twitter user and grad student of snake biology @SssnakeySci tweeted out the photo with a challenge: "Can you spot the snake?" Copperheads use camouflage as their primary protection (not unlike how I use sarcasm); they're especially adept to living in woods and forest, but can also be found in suburban areas. Twitter gamely took up the mission and started guessing the whereabouts of the sneaky Copperhead. In just a couple of days, the post has racked up over 5,000 retweets and nearly 23,000 "likes."

Take a look at the photo below and see if you can find the hidden snake:

Found it yet? Yeah, me neither.

After about five minutes of staring at the picture and repeatedly taking on and off my glasses, I was still no closer to finding the snake. Knowing how clumsy I am, I quickly resigned myself to the eventuality of a snake bite if I ever leave the city.

Thankfully, I wasn't the only one struggling. Twitter users had an equally difficult time locating the slippery sucker, confusing it with twigs, colorful leaves, or rocks.

As time passed, the struggle got very real.

Eventually, some Twitter users gave up on trying to find the darn thing in the leaves and searched elsewhere.

On April 24, @SssnakeySci posted the answer for those who were still stumped (or didn't feel like taking the time to blow up the image 300 percent to find the snake). To add insult to injury, the copperhead is actually right smack dab in the middle of the photo! Stare hard enough, and you'll be able to make out its distinctive pattern of brown crossbands that mark its body.

The Copperhead is a common North American snake that can live in a variety of diverse climates and habitats, such as woods, desserts, mountains, and near rivers, according to Live Science. @SssnakeySci notes that they are usually found in leaf litter, as seen in the photo. The snake's territory spans across the United States, stretching from New England to Texas and Mexico, so these little guys are pretty hard to avoid. The snakes average in size between two and three feet in length, but that doesn't make them any easier to pick out. @SssnakeySci also helpfully cleared up in a handy infographic that they are venomous, rather than poisonous:

While they will bite when threatened, “their venom is relatively mild, and their bites are rarely fatal for humans,” states Live Science. So... at least there's that, right? If you do get bitten, do not try to suck the venom out, reminds @SssnakeySci; doing so will actually increase blood flow and circulation, which you definitely don't want. Instead, head over to a hospital as fast as you can, and let the professionals treat the wound.

The one big piece of advice for those still anxious? Wear boots when you're clomping around the forest!