Pop quiz, hotshot: There's a danger noodle (aka snake) camouflaged here in plain sight. Do you see it?
The infuriating brain teaser comes to us by way of Twitter, where it was posted by Helen, a Ph.D student at the Florida Institute of Technology who specializes in snake biology and species like pythons, boas, and pitvipers (you know, the fun, cuddly types).
In her tweet, which was shared more than 6,000 times on the microblogging platform before crossing over to the viral web, she adds context to the optical illusion:
"Received this from a fellow HERper this morning. No caption needed, the task was implied: 'can you spot the snake?'"
Because the snake's stripes mirror the leaf litter around it, folks on the internet have been losing their minds the longer they stare at the image.
"I give up, where is it? Circle in red. With arrows. (I lost 15min of my life here..)," pleads a commenter.
"I'm staring at a pile of leaves aren't i.", asks another.
Some readers were moved to cheats...
...while others drew clever comparisons to an iconic video game.
Requests to turn the picture into a jigsaw puzzle were voiced.
But the struggle was very much real: "Even when you see it it keeps disappearing #camouflage," complained one frustrated Twitterer.
Anxiety about the snake's location gave a number of people considerable pause about ever going outside again. (* writer pulls chair close, stands on it forever *)
Notes of gratitude were also dispensed.
There were even attempts to rope in topical memes.
Roughly 24 hours after her original post, Helen returned to the thread with an answer key. After revealing that this species was a copperhead, she highlighted its dead-center location with blue arrows. Terrifying, no?
"Cute but venomous, so no touchy! 😍🐍❤️", she warns.
In a final tweet, she struck a note of tolerance for the cold-blooded reptiles we share the planet with.
"For everyone enjoying this puzzle, please remember: Snakes deserve to live just as we do. Treat them with care & respect, not hate & fear."
You know what they say: If you gaze long enough into an snake, the snake will gaze back into you. 😉
Did you find the snake on your own? Did you really??? Share your thoughts in the comments below!