Who would have guessed that one of the most striking animals on the planet would be so difficult to spot?
Recently, wildlife photographer Saurabh Desai posted a photo he’d snapped in the Spiti Valley of Northern India that’s left internet users scratching their heads. At a glance, it appears to be a simple landscape shot of a snow-covered crag — but there’s more to the image than first meets the eye.
Turns out, Desai was actually there photographing a snow leopard, an elusive big cat native to the region, whose perfectly camouflaged coat makes him blend into his landscape to a breathtaking degree.
Can you find him?
If you tried and failed to find the snow leopard, you’re not alone.
Even locals in this region, whose name for these cats is “Shan,” have a very difficult time spotting them despite being in plain sight.
“I wanted this animal to be captured the way people have described it,” Desai told us. “They say that often they don’t see the ‘Shan’ but ‘Shan’ always sees them.”
Here’s a hint for those still stumped:
Indeed, while you were busy searching, the snow leopard was staring back all along.
(In other words, he wins.)
Not all of the snow leopards in Desai’s photos are quite so tricky to spot, but their expertise at traversing rugged terrain does make encountering them at all a challenge.
But for Desai, it’s more than worth it.
“I spent almost three years in search of this amazing cat,” he said. “When I found it up and close to me, I was speechless.”
And thanks to Desai’s tireless work documenting these gorgeous animals, the rest of the world can appreciate their beauty, too.