Is it worth going after? The snow leopard’s coat is excellent camouflage, and you wouldn’t think it was snowing due to its apparent presence.
This wintry optical illusion is a challenge to see if you can spot the snow leopard on the snowy mountain in 60 seconds or less.
Hira Punjabi, an Indian wildlife photographer, took a picture of a stone in the Himalayas covered in snow. If you look closely enough, you can see an elusive feline hiding in the snow.
The big cat is difficult to spot at first, but if you look closely enough, you can see it prowling in the lower right-hand corner of the frame. Its coat perfectly blends in with the white and dark brown backdrop 14,000 feet above sea level.
The picture wasn’t just challenging for optical illusion buffs. To capture the “grey ghost of the Himalayas,” Punjabi had to climb very high into the mountains, where “the temperature was between -20 and -30 degrees and the oxygen was very thin,” he stated.
“I had to use a hand warmer all day to keep my hands from freezing, otherwise I would not have been able to operate my camera,” said the photographer.
However, Punjabi claims the incredible shot was well worth the cold weather.
“It was a dream come true after 30 years,” exclaimed the cat enthusiast. “I have photographed thousands of images of tigers, lions and leopards in India, but this is the first time I have seen a snow leopard.”
This isn’t the only snow leopard-centric illusion to make puzzle buffs’ eyes cross. In this photo, shot by Australian photographer Bobby Jo-Vial, the high-altitude hunter is similarly indistinguishable from its mountainous habitat.
It’s no surprise that snow leopards, out of all the big cat species, are masters at camouflage.
According to an article from the World Wildlife Fund: “Their long fur and less distinctive markings that seem to change shape with body movement make identifying individual snow leopards difficult compared to other big cats like tigers, leopards and jaguars, which have more distinctive markings.”
The WWF estimates that there are only 4,000 snow leopards remaining in the wild, making them a vulnerable species. They’re difficult to spot due to their elusive nature.