The image—which is believed to have been taken by wildlife photographer Hemant Dabi—went viral on social media as people scoured the dirt for signs of the big cat.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 22, 2020. It has since been updated.
Have you ever woken up one fine day and thought to yourself: "I wish I could stare at a bunch of rocks until they reveal a fierce feline in their midst?" Well, guess what? Today's your lucky day. A brainteaser-esque photograph making rounds on social media, with people scrambling to spot the leopard that's said to be hidden in the frame. The monotone "dirt" color scheme of the image makes it near impossible to locate the big cat unless you're someone who could probably spot a needle in a haystack from six feet away.
The image—which is believed to have been taken by wildlife photographer Hemant Dabi—first turned heads on social media late in 2019, after Twitter user Bella Lack tweeted the photograph and explained that someone had challenged her to find the leopard. I was convinced it was a joke... until I found the leopard. Can you spot it? she asked. The snap of what appears to be nothing more than a whole lot of dirt quickly sent Lack's 147,000 followers into a meltdown as they attempted to crack the code and will their eyes into picking up on a tail or a pair of eyes or a spotted leg amid the rubble.
Someone just sent this to me and asked me to find the leopard. I was convinced it was a joke... until I found the leopard. Can you spot it? pic.twitter.com/hm8ASroFAo— Bella Lack (@BellaLack) September 27, 2019
Since being posted online in September 2019, the tweet has garnered more than 23,700 likes and 11,400 retweets and comments. While some seemed to spot leopards in places where there most definitely wasn't one, others made do with punny jokes. "So *this* is how the leopard got its spots. By being spotted. It all makes sense now," tweeted Twitter user Thea Boodhoo. "It's a trick question, the leopard took the photograph," tweeted Réal Funghi, which—to be honest—might seem like the only answer after staring at the photograph for 10 minutes.
Cub? Illusion? pic.twitter.com/J72HCzAtBS— muddy cat 🐾🐾 (@muddy_cat) September 27, 2019
October 4, 2019
I thought this was its head at first under some rubble! pic.twitter.com/l7HNz3eQQx— 0_tollstoy_0 (@o0_tollstoy_0o) September 27, 2019
Easy! pic.twitter.com/Q1GtUCDXkj— Ismail Sallie (@ismailsallie) September 30, 2019
did anyone else notice this image? or I am crazy? pic.twitter.com/N547qut90l— Alexander Cruz (@3AlexanderCruz) October 2, 2019
Sorry, I just can saw the face of a puppy 😂🐶 pic.twitter.com/fNlqR8Ifqx— El Malcriado (@YAZZ9000) October 2, 2019
While some made do with drawing some cat heads onto the photograph and calling it a day, others gave up and simply resorted to checking other responses for the answer. "I'd be dead before I found this cat so I don't reckon it matters much...," tweeted Michael. Twitter user Laura Jennings agreed, writing: "I would be extremely dead before I spotted it." Meanwhile, others gave it their best shot only to realize that the dirt and their eyes were playing games with them. "I think it’s peering down over the bank under the four small trees - directly under the third trunk from the left." Shell, which Lack confirmed wasn't true.
Oo, I’ll look again.— Shell (@shell_here) September 27, 2019
I haven't found it yet. But it's true. Once you find it. Then it's so easy to see.— Spinning bird (@Halfcourtbird) September 27, 2019
"Someone please pm me the answer. I’m gonna go crazy if I stare at this dirt anymore," tweeted Zack Ickowicz. "I highkey thought I sat here staring for 10 minutes for nothing but it's real. Ok good," commented Miran⁷. So what about you? Have you spotted the beast yet? No? Well, allow me to put you out of your misery. Here's where the spotty bit cat is hiding in the image:
At the left of the tree pic.twitter.com/97n5JOPUGt— Hichem B (@hichembenamara2) October 4, 2019
Here's a closer look: