20 optical illusions that will blow your mind

We trust our brains to do a lot.

From remembering birthdays to making sure you never forget an embarrassing moment that happened years ago, we can’t avoid what it chooses to focus on — and what it doesn’t.

But even brains make mistakes, which is where optical illusions come in. Optical illusions are images or pictures that perceive something other than reality. That’s why they’re also called visual perceptions. 

They can also be welcome distractions from everyday life and even medical professionals credit them with helping figure out what makes the human brain tick.

Below are 20 optical illusions that are sure to make you question how powerful your brain really is.

Brain teasers can be helpful to escape everyday life, researchers say.
NYPost Photo Composite

Note: Each entry contains spoilers for figuring out the puzzles.

1. Only 0.1% of people can find all the numbers

Number optical illusion
Can you spot all 10 numbers?

TikTok user @purpzosaur shared this image that seems to only have four numbers. But there are actually 10! 

“I can only see 12346789,” said one frustrated viewer, while another wrote, “I see 12346780 and 00 (infinity).”

Note that it’s important to keep your eye on the swinging monkey in order to see the number most people struggle with: five.

2. Optical illusion looks like it’s moving but there’s a trick to make it stop

Abstract rotating image
Stare into the center to make the image stop moving.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

This one can make your brain spin. 

This purple and yellow image looks as if it’s moving when it’s actually not.

The key to getting it to stay still? Try looking into the center.

3. Optical illusion turns you colorblind

Split screen of a TikTok
Staring into this image can make you colorblind.

TikTok is back at it again. This time user @seandoesmagic shows viewers four squares with a black cross in the middle.

He’ll instruct you to stare into the center and not blink — and the squares should change to look black and white.

However, with the snap of his fingers, he says, “Now it should look like a really weird color, then it should slowly fade to black and white.”

The trick didn’t work for everyone, as some people only saw pastel colors. Will it work for you?

4. Spot the giraffe with no twin

A group of giraffes
One of these giraffes does not have an identical twin.

In this one, viewers will be going on a safari to find the one giraffe that doesn’t have a pair.

The key to solving this puzzle will be to closely examine each animal’s eyes, markings and stature. 

The answer? Check the third row and one in from the right.

5. This optical illusion has a revelation about your brain and eyes

A dark hole in a checkered pattern
The black hole should take up the entire image if stared at long enough.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Illusions like this one are meant to help psychologists understand more about how the human brain perceives things.

Scientists found that the stronger reaction men and women had to the image, the more their pupils would dilate.  

The concept is that you will eventually see the black oval take over the entire image, but 14% didn’t because of either their past experiences or they only see the image in two dimensions.

6. Spot the second tiger

A tiger in the jungle
Viewers need to look for the hidden tiger.

Tease your brain with this one, in which you’re supposed to be looking for “the hidden tiger” in the image. 

But your expectations may be off.

As it turns out, you’re looking for it in word form — the phrase “the hidden tiger” hidden amidst all the chaos happening in the pic.

Hint: Try looking at the tiger’s stripes.

7. Spot the snake in this sssssneaky optical illusion

One snake in a large group of turtles
There is one snake in this image of turtles.

Our trip through the jungle continues as viewers now have to try to find the one slithering snake in a sea of turtles.

Rumor has it that if you can spot it in 15 seconds, you’ll break a world record. 

Here’s a hint: It’s the one turtle that doesn’t have a shell attached to it. Happy hunting!

8. Spot the mouse in this optical illusion

One mouse in a group of mushrooms
You can set a record for finding the mouse the quickest.
Gergely Dudás/Dudolf

Take a break from the jungle and head into a garden filled with colorful mushrooms — with the goal of hunting down a mouse.

Some people were able to break records by finding it in only 20 seconds.

If you’re having trouble, look on the left side of the image and you might find a pair of white ears sticking out from behind one of the many mushrooms.

9. Spot the blue-eyed fox

A group of foxes in a forest
Only one of these foxes has blue eyes.

Moving from the garden to the forest, only one of these foxes has blue eyes — and it’s up to you to find it.

According to Book an Eye Test, it takes an average of 1 minute 13 seconds to solve, but you’ll be the recorder-holder if you can do it in under 25 seconds.

In case you’re struggling, look slightly to the left and go about halfway down the image.

10. Spot the elephant

A screenshot of a TikTok
There is a hidden elephant in this image.

TikTok star Hectic Nick takes us back to the jungle to be on the lookout for an elephant that only 1% of people can find.

His hint? Read it directly below.

“It’s not easy, but try flipping your phone over and you might be able to find it.”

While some people took over 10 hours to find it, it can be spotted in the foreground with trees representing its legs.

11. Scary optical illusion will ‘make you hallucinate’

A screenshot from a TikTok
This illusion can make the room you’re in “shrink.”

TikTok user @seandoesmagic returns with a black-and-white abstract pattern moving outward with a red dot in the center.

He said to not take your eyes off of the dot.

“Feel free to blink if you need to, but just don’t take your eyes off the dot.”

After staring for 10 to 15 seconds, took away to an area in your room — and you should be able to see the space shrink around you.

12. Spot the butterfly in leaves

One butterfly in a pile of leaves
Can you find this butterfly?

“There’s a rare kind of butterfly in the botanical garden. Will you be the first to find it?” a YouTube clip tells viewers.

In this one, people need to find the one butterfly in the background of fall leaves. If you can do it in 5 seconds, you are in the top 1%.

For a hint, the butterfly can be seen in the lower left-hand corner.

13. Spot all four women

A drawing of a woman
Not everyone can find all four women in this image.
Oleg Shupliak

Created by Ukrainian artist Oleg Shupliak, this image appears to only show one woman talking into her phone when it actually shows four.

Only 2% of people can find them all.

But if you’re struggling, the second one can be found on the woman’s torso, while the third can be found combined by the woman’s elbow and part of her sleeve. Finally, the fourth can be found near her hand and forearm.

14. Find the third animal

A TikTok screenshot
There’s a secret to easily finding all three animals.

Illusion expert @pasillusion challenges people to find the third animal in this image of a dolphin eating a fish with a passing ship in the corner.

“Only 1 percent of people can find the second animal in this image,” he claims.

But if you think the fish is the second animal, you’re wrong.

Flip your phone upside down and you’ll see a flock of birds flying over the ocean — and then the dolphin becomes both a pelican and another bird.

15. These blue circles will fool your eyes

Three blue circles against a blue backdrop
How different are the three circles?

UK vision company Lenstore created this image that appears to show multiple different shades of blue circles standing side by side.

However, when put up against a white background all three of them are exactly the same shade.

16. The hidden image in this hot pink circle

A screenshot from TikTok
Not everyone can see the hidden image in this circle.

TikToker @pasillusion strikes again — this time with an image supposedly hidden in plain sight within this circle.

Only 1% of people are able to see it, he says.

Multiple guesses were offered for the image, but most people claimed that they saw a bottle.

17. Try to spot the 25 animals

A face covered in 25 animals
There are 25 animals in this image.

Inspired by 16th-century artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo, this illusion challenges people to spot 25 animals in the image in under 2 minutes in order to have a spot in the top 0.1% of people.

Here are the animals for which to be on the lookout: an elephant, kangaroo, bear, tiger, tortoise, horse, white rabbit, goose, hedgehog, dolphin, snail, gopher, fox, sloth, alligator, snake, whale, pelican, parrot, starfish, starfish, grasshopper, monkey, bird and a peacock.

18. Find the chick in this bunny illusion

A group of bunnies arranging baskets in a flower field
Look for the chick somewhere near the bunnies.

Hungarian artist Gergely Dudas shared this Easter-friendly one that has viewers looking for a baby chicken amongst bunnies preparing for the holiday.

If you can find the chick within 30 seconds, you’re considered a record-holder.

But don’t let those bunnies fool you because you’ll actually find the chick in one of the yellow tulips on the left side of the image.

19. Spot the diamond ring

A garden scene
There is a diamond ring somewhere in this image.

Originally posted on Reader’s Digest by jeweler William May, this illusion has people dig through a garden to find a diamond ring. 

Some hints from the author include: “The ring’s band is yellow, and it has a good-sized white diamond.”

If you still can’t find it, look at one of the carrots on the right side of the image.

20. Find the snake in the woods

A tree in the woods with big roots
Only 1% of people can find the snake in this illusion.
Bright Side

The Bright Side YouTube channel takes us into the woods to look for a snake.

“Only the 1% most attentive” can find the snake in under 5 seconds, according to the clip.

It gives the hint to go “back to your roots,” as one can see the snake blending in with the tree’s roots in the lower right-hand corner.   

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