You have the best eyesight if you can spot the snow leopard hiding in the mountains in this optical illusion

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The snow leopard is often called the ghost of the mountains because its white and grey coat helps it to blend in with its habitat so well that people struggle to see it

At first glance, this image shows an impressive snowy mountain scene - but if you look closely you'll realise there’s actually a snow leopard hiding in its natural habitat in the image too. You’re forgiven for not seeing it at first though - after all this may be a very big cat but its white and grey coat helps it to camouflage in to its surroundings amazingly well, regardless of its size.

You’ll actually need pretty incredible eyesight to be able to see it at all. It’s one of the latest optical illusions to baffle internet users, and it’s been frequently shared on social media as people ask the question “where is the snow leopard?”. If you really want to challenge yourself - and your friends - see if you can spot the animal in just one minute. Only eagle-eyed viewers with the eyes of a hawk can solve this wintry optical illusion in 60 seconds or less.

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So, just where is the snow leopard hiding in the image and where has it come from? Here’s everything you need to know.

Where has the image come from?

The incredible image of the beautiful snow leopard was captured by a professional photographer. Hira Punjabi, from India, has been a professional photographer for 30 years.

Speaking about his dedication to capturing the striking image, Punjabi said the conditions were extremely difficult, but he was determined to get the best shot. He said: "The temperature was between -20 and -30 degrees and the oxygen was very thin. 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."

Hira, who is based in Mumbai, India, said that it had been a dream throughout his career, which has lasted three decades, to photograph the creature. He said: "It was a dream come true after 30 years. 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."

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Snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Their thick white-grey coat spotted with large black rosettes blends in perfectly with Asia’s steep and rocky, high mountains. Their natural camouflage makes them almost invisible in their surroundings, and because of this snow leopards are often referred to as the “ghost of the mountains”. The snow leopard is a rare creature - in fact, the global population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and that is expected to decline about 10% by 2040.

Where is the snow leopard in the image?

This snow leopard’s coat is peak camouflage for the wintry mountains it inhabits, and so at first glance of this image it’s seemingly nowhere in sight. Take another look at the photo below and see if you can spot the majestic leopard.

Can you spot the snow leopard in this photo? Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent.Can you spot the snow leopard in this photo? Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent.
Can you spot the snow leopard in this photo? Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent. | Hira Punjabi/Solent

Did you see it? If so, did you spot it in 60 seconds? If you need some help, look closely and you’ll be able to see the big cat prowling the lower right-hand corner of the frame, perfectly camouflaged against the white and dark brown backdrop some 14,000 feet above sea level.

If you still can’t see it, scroll down a little further for a close-up image that identifies just where the leopard is using a red circle to pinpoint its location.

Close up view to show snow the leopard in the photo. Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent.Close up view to show snow the leopard in the photo. Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent.
Close up view to show snow the leopard in the photo. Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent. | Image by Hira Punjabi/Solent.

How can I see more optical illusions?

Check out our optical illusions page for more mind-bending images. Be sure to bookmark the page and keep checking back to, as we regularly publish more illusions to keep you guessing.

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