Roses are red, violets are blue, and a crab is much smaller than a trash can. All of these things are true — or are they? Our brains accept certain things without much explanation, like the size of an object, the limits of time, or the concept of money. That is, until we’re confronted with reality.
Seeing photo comparisons that smash through the boundaries of our brains can stop us in our tracks. We’ve got to stop and stare to figure out what’s really going on. These photos will make you see that reality is only relative.
1. Check out this grain of rice hogging up the frame next to this little baby mini-computer! It’s hard to decide what’s more mind-blowing: How far we’ve come in technological advances, or how weird rice looks when you zoom in that close?
University of Michigan
2. Even people who hate bugs would probably feel comfortable around caterpillars. However, this gigantic green creepy crawly would make the bravest soul scream if it crawled across their shoulder. This 5-inch creature is aptly called a hickory horned devil.
Reddit / Sh3dinja
3. Spotting an eagle makes for an exciting moment in any afternoon, as long as they stay at a distance. This image shows you how gnarly it could get if you ever found yourself on an eagle’s bad side.
Reddit / ItsMoJam
4. At 7’7’’ and 5’3’’, Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues had the most noticeable height gap of any players in NBA history. They were teammates on the Washington Bullets in 1987 and proved height isn’t a determining factor for basketball excellence.
Getty Images / Focus On Sport / Contributor
5. If you need a reminder of the sheer wonder of the Great Pyramids, you only need to see a person stand right at the base. The Great Pyramid of Giza is composed of 2,300,000 individual limestone and granite blocks.
Getty Images / Matt Champlin
6. Well, he’s certainly much bigger than the back of the penny makes it seem. For those of us who haven’t visited the Lincoln Memorial, it comes as a surprise that the Honest Abe statue is larger than life. If he could stand, he’d be 28 feet tall.
Getty Images / Mark Wilson / Staff
7. Forever worry about the safety of your feet now that you know the lion’s mane jellyfish is lurking in many of the world’s oceans. To make matters worse, they hang out in the shallows and can grow up to 120 feet long.
8. Usain Bolt might exist in a parallel universe where time functions differently. There’s several finish line photos where he’s several body lengths in front of his competitors, all while grinning and breaking his runner’s form. These snapshots make his speed appear easy, when it’s anything but.
Getty Images / Cameron Spencer / Staff
9. Michelangelo’s David is regarded as one of the most masterful artworks ever created, and for good reason. This guy is 17 solid feet of marble, carved expertly in the 16th century, back when the scaffolding and every other aspect of life was much less stable.
Getty Images / Stuart C. Wilson / Stringer
10. If you thought a hermit crab pinch was unpleasant, stay clear of the coconut crab. They have the same amount of power in their pincers as a lion’s jaw.
11. Nope, that’s not a very convincing Halloween decoration. It’s a bat that’s so unbelievably gigantic that they named it after a much larger animal by calling it the giant golden-crowned flying fox.
Twitter / Welcomet0nature
12. Believe it or not, these two dogs are of the same breed. The little scrappy pup grew up to look just like his goliath dad, a full-grown Tibetan Mastiff. It may resemble a lion, but these cuddly giants are patient and good-tempered.
Instagram / Venicetibetanmastiff
13. Even the most mammoth human hearts pale in comparison to the ticker of the great blue whale. This to-scale diagram shows how several people could comfortably fit in there and still have room to spare.
Reddit / Woahdude
14. Australia is home to several animals that exist primarily in theory to people who’ll never visit. Wombats are imagined as tiny cute critters, but the truth is, while very cuddly, they grow big, heavy and larger than some dogs.
Facebook / Patrick the Wombat
15. “Crikey!” is an understatement. It’s a colossus of a saltwater crocodile, make no mistake about it. However, this photo does mess with perspective, since the croc is closer to the lens.
Reddit / _Waffleiron
16. Trigger warning for the people who like to condense their small bills. This is the crazy reality of what ten thousand dollars in $1 bills contrasted against the same amount in $100 dollar bills.
Reddit / Zombienm
17. The Easter Bunny doesn’t seem that farfetched in comparison to this Flemish Giant Rabbit. If you can handle an arm’s full, these fluffy angels make wonderful patient pets. Plus, they’re lighter than they look, at the most about 22 lbs.
Twitter / Natureslover_s
18. A washed-up tree in Washington state might be the largest piece of driftwood ever. The sight of it tells a tale of extreme age, where it grew from a seedling, fell into the ocean, and was pushed by waves to shore.
Earth Science Picture of the Day / Phillip Lachman
19. Pumba is much more intimidating in real life. Yep, this is a wild boar looking for snacks in a Chinese trash can. Grubs can only satiate hunger for so long, and this big mama has two baby piggies to feed.
20. Knolling: It’s a good day when the fire department has no emergencies to attend. It’s even better when they’re so bored, they take all their equipment out of the truck for a flat-lay, as was called for in a viral emergency-services trend in 2019.
ville_de_geneve / Instagram
21. Giant: When wrestling star and The Princess Bride icon André Roussimoff traveled by plane, he had to buy two seats. Flight attendants from the time agree he was a really pleasant guy.
RollTideGaming / Reddit
22. Trimaran: You’d think a massive warship like this one would have an equally massive hull, but it turns out this unique design — called a trimaran hull — enables the ship to maneuver quickly in the shallower waters close to land.
Crowe410 / Reddit
23. Split: This photo, taken near the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, shows the striking split between a metropolitan cityscape and the biggest green space in the Big Apple. In a city renowned for its skyscrapers, a view with trees is priceless.
24. Avoid at all costs: There are plenty of fish in the sea, but not one of them wants to come near a shark. Fish work together in schools like these, moving like a current to coordinate safety from predators.
Lowcrbnaman / Reddit
25. Innards: CT scan machines look smooth and streamlined on the outside, but don’t be fooled. When repairs are needed, the outer shell comes off to reveal a mind-boggling matrix of wires, fans, and other circuitry.
Adderall / Reddit
26. Central operations: This looks like it could be the hub of NASA’s mission operations, or even a futuristic movie set, but it’s really the traffic control center in Beijing, China. The black-and-white image on the screen is zoomed-in on the Yangfangdian district of the massive city.
ThatsJustYourOpinionMan / Reddit
27. Satisfying: Often called “road printers”, these bricklaying machines allow a for more efficient assembly process. Instead of having to bend over on hands and knees in the sun, bricklayers can stay standing and place bricks right in front of them, letting the machine do the rest.
lordsleepyhead / Reddit
28. Bright and loud: This isn’t the inside of a toilet paper roll — it’s actually the hollow interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower was constructed as a bell tower, and the emptiness on the inside would allow the bells to reverberate and be amplified.
Wicked_Aviator / Reddit
29. Blastoff: This long-distance photo, taken by one of NASA’s satellites, shows a U.S. space shuttle blasting through Earth’s cloud layer on its departure to orbit. A space launch is a momentous event for humans, but on the grand scale of the universe, it’s tiny.
30. Rubber confetti: Golf balls can be filled with a variety of materials, all of which react a certain way to a golfer’s swing, the spin they put on the ball, and the speed at which the ball is hit.
What’s Inside? / YouTube
31. Log: Never underestimate the power of the sea. This giant sequoia tree washed up as driftwood on a beach, and with that adult human for scale, we figure it must’ve been a pretty strong tide.
9w_lf9 / Reddit
32. Hollow: If you find yourself in Juneau, Alaska, make a day trip to the Mendenhall Glacier. You’ll be able to hike up inside it and see these overhead formations where the ice was carved away by rocks as it crept down the mountain.
Travoli / Reddit
33. Strength in unity: Those gigantic cables that keep the Golden Gate Bridge from crashing down into the waters of San Francisco are actually made up of thousands of individual steel wires, making it more difficult for the bridge’s suspension to fail.
jaykirsch / Reddit
34. Flip: Unless you’re a koi or a goldfish, you’ve likely never seen the underside of a lily pad. This one is flipped over as part of a botanic exhibit, allowing visitors to see all the veins that deliver carbon dioxide to keep the plant healthy.
Hotbreadsy / Reddit
35. Rings: We don’t recommend slicing and dicing your family heirloom necklace, but if for whatever reason it must be done for science, you’ll get an interesting look at how an oyster protects itself by coating any invasive debris particles with layers of nacre, or mother-of-pearl.
thegodofbigthings / Reddit
36. Behind the curtain: When you go out to a night at the theater, the actors up on stage look like they’re performing in a little box. From backstage, where the magic happens, it’s the other way around.
kiaall / Reddit
37. Billiards engineering: How a pool table returns all the pocketed balls so quickly has been a mystery to many, but no longer. Underneath the felt top, the pockets are connected by a series of inclined planes, all carefully arranged to make sure lost balls don’t get stuck.
Duckman296 / Reddit
38. Bunched up: This handful of what looks like colorful plastic bread-bag ties is actually a cross section of a bundle of telephone wires. Those bits of plastic and metal are what allow us to make landline calls.
Right before this painful collision, this hockey player looks ready to try to catch the flying puck. We’re guessing he hasn’t registered that it’s about to smash him in the face during a game.
The photographer here was super lucky. They managed to get this picture of a just-popped balloon about to explode all over this girl’s back. Great work, mysterious photographer!
This is one glizzy that didn’t want to be gobbled. We love how this woman tried to twist her tongue around to secure the flying hotdog, but since she’s not a giraffe or anteater, this didn’t work out for her.
We are seconds before a big chomp. The fish looks okay for the moment, but the poor little guy is about to have a very bad day. Rest in pieces to this alligator’s lunch. We’ll keep you in our hearts.
This eagle wasn’t pleased with this photographer’s jacket and had to fly down to express his strong opinion, backed up by his sharp talons and beak. It’s kind of funny since the guy being attacked didn’t get the shot; someone else did.
Incoming chomp! Doesn’t this cupcake look irresistible? This dog definitely thought so. Hopefully this person has more cupcakes at home because we don’t think this is going to end well. The pooch is having a great day though.
Another day, another bird angry about a fashion choice. This owl is going to teach this little boy a lesson about hoodies he’s never going to forget. You’ll notice this bird has large talons — we’re hoping it’s a thick hoodie.
If you’re into wresting, rugby, or another contact sport, you’ll know that the players can find themselves in awkward positions. We’re sure these men were happy to get to know each other in such an intimate way.
The dad’s expression says that he really regrets buying his son boxing gloves for Christmas. If you look at his nose, it’s just beginning to crumple into the rest of his face. Ah, the joy of Christmas.
If you look at this image quickly, it seems like the man on the left is on the dancefloor while his buddies are cheering him on. Nope. This man is about to be drenched. We’re guessing his friends threw him in.
It looks like this woman was about to enjoy a slice of cherry cheesecake. Her face says it all. Her blue dress is about to be covered in a mix of cake and disappointment. We thank the person who caught this.
Can you imagine spending a ton of money on makeup and hair, only to fall off of a broken dock? At least the groom is helping the bride. All of the bridesmaids look like they’re having a terrible time.
If you’re at the beach and see a particularly large wave coming toward you, we recommend getting out of the way. This woman seems entranced by the water. There’s no way it didn’t crash on her right after this.
This poor dog misjudged how close the frisbee was to the tree. We’re sure he was so caught up in chasing the thing, he didn’t notice where he was running. Situational awareness is important, even for dogs.
He about to get popped. Once you pop the fun don’t stop. We can keep going. Anyway, this man is about to get a cork right to the eye. That’s probably going to leave a massive bruise as a parting gift.
Every so often this happens. If the cheers-people are already drunk, shattered mugs much more likely to occur, but it happens with sober people too. There’s something about barware that makes it randomly explode sometimes.
In this moment, this baseball player looks like he’s wearing a blonde, icy Gatorade wig. The liquid is only just starting to soak into his uniform. One thing is very clear: this man is about to be very sticky.
There’s a lot going on here. A tiger is trying to eat this chicken on top of a Mercedes covered in wiring on a snowy day. Do we know where this happened? No. Do we know why this happened? Also, no.
The old group pyramid — something that always entertaining to watch as an outsider. Either these people used to be cheerleaders and you’re about to be in for a show, or they’re wannabes and you’re about to get a good laugh.
Just before their cute little puppy accidentally bumps his head, his owner managed to capture this. He looks like a small, prancing horse in this. We’re sure the puppy was okay after his bump. They’re so floppy at that age.
This floating pirate ship is perfectly set on top of the distant ocean waves, ready for a swashbuckling adventure. Its captain is that dude in the blue hat, commanding the ship’s movements with the magic of a thin string. Or it’s a kite.
No matter how many times you look, you can’t help but see two animals, right? But there’s only one! The trick here is this aardvark’s coat design.
Malene Thyssen – Wikipedia
Be careful where you step here. It may not look like much, but when you fall into this river — yeah, it’s there — you’ll learn that the leaves played a trick on you.
We’re thanking our lucky stars that there is nothing wrong with this doggo. It’s all about perspective — he’s just laying next to a matching log!
Sometimes we feel like somebody’s watching us, but then we realize it’s just a reflection of a trusty bedside lamp in the lenses of glasses.
A friendship that defies nature: a cat with its panda pal…wait, no, that’s just the cat’s butt.
My oh my, that baby has a huge hand. And, wow, that man has a tiny forearm. There’s something a little unbalanced about this photo, but the two in it know there’s nothing wrong. Like father, like son.
No, cities aren’t building sidewalk pianos for passersby to tinkle the ivories. This is a cool trick of the light creating a musical path of piano keys.
Is this a man with a dog’s head? Or a dog with a human body growing out of his neck? We think they need a head adjustment because this picture is insane!
Even clouds can carry heavy burdens. The gate just couldn’t take the pressure! (Or, maybe, this is a well-time photo and an old gate).
Most kids love to play in the pool, but this girl prefers to rise above such traditions. What a rebel!
You probably could create this illusion with Photoshop, but here’s the less expensive version — wine glasses lined up in perfect harmony. Still mesmerizing.
This rather haunting photograph is a prime example of the power of make-up. We’re hoping she doesn’t pay a visit to your home — she could be out front right now!
Someone using Facebook Live thought it would be hilarious to post a picture of their kid clinging for dear life. Turns out this was all staged, and the kid was never in danger at all — he’s actually laying on his side!
Another reckless parent risking their child’s life for that perfect shot? Nope! They’re not posed on a building ledge; they’re just positioned beside a miniature train with minimal danger to the little one. Hang in there, baby!
Birds were already terrifying thanks to the Alfred Hitchcock classic, The Birds, but imagine if they grew into massive giants. We’re grateful that this picture is merely an illusion.
Dalmatians are great. That is, until winter comes along and you keep losing the dog in the snow. Where’d you go, Fido?!
We Rate Dogs – Twitter
Do not fear, there’s no alien landing happening here. What you see below is actually a car door that needs some serious cleaning.
There’s nothing like being greeted by your favorite furry friend. Even better is when there are two. Even weirder is when they look attached at the hip.
Has terror of The Birds come back to haunt us? Or perhaps it’s just ice on a windshield. Either way, one can only hope it’ll fly away soon.
Playing hockey seems pretty difficult without a head, but the player on the right appears to be doing it pretty effortlessly. In reality, his neck is just positioned in a way that makes him look like his helmet is short one noggin.
This part in this little girl’s hair appears at first glance to have supernatural abilities, as it extends far past the top of her head and out into the path before her. Of course this isn’t the case, but it still looks super cool!
Demon owl or cup of espresso? Unclear at first glance. The mastermind behind this illusion created it by dropping two chips into a mug of coffee. Pretty cool, huh?
Babies with adult-sized legs? This image will surely be turning up in our nightmares, but luckily it’s just an illusion. The legs belong to the mom, whose torso is obscured by the infant plopped on top of her.
What did this woman do to deserve having her head grabbed by the statue of a Roman emperor? Nothing, as it turns out. It’s just a picture taken at the perfect moment.
Blogspot – Imagegraphy
That girl looks a little too old for that boy, no? Also, doesn’t his head look…freakishly large? In fact, the love-struck blond is sharing a smooch with whomever is behind the amused-looking child.
We wouldn’t be caught dead dining with a headless lady. But to be fair, these women likely share this viewpoint, as it’s merely a mirror trick that lends this customer her strange appearance.
A man with the head of a fish? Not quite as alluring as a mermaid, that’s for sure. This swimmer just happened to pose right as a fish was swimming by. Don’t worry, he’s not actually a monster.
It’d be super cool if inanimate statues could blow plumes of smoke into the air, but this otherworldly shot can be attributed to clouds that, while also inanimate, appear to be excellent at posing for pictures.
At first glance, it looks like the girl in the pink dress has a strangely contorted body. If you take a closer look, you’ll see this is not the case — the brown bangs actually belong to her friend in the white tee.
This little boy certainly wishes he could collect waterfalls using a single cup. Sorry, kid, you can’t. The bright side is that he definitely knows someone with superb camera skills.
Flickr – stuant63
Dogs on airplanes? Maybe. Humanoid dogs on airplanes? Please, no! Thankfully the body belongs to a slumped over sleeping woman, while her dog appears to be sitting straight up beside her.
Here’s another animal-human hybrid that we’re really glad doesn’t exist. While the photo is an illusion, at first glance it really does look like this guy has an equine head. Nope.
It’s hard to think of a scenario in which you’d willingly inhale someone else’s hair into your nostrils. And as far as we know, none exist, because this illusion is simply a result of locks blowing in the wind.
You wouldn’t expect this chick to have the arm of a burly, hairy man — and she doesn’t. The “arm” is actually a leg, and it belongs to the dude sitting crossed-legged beside her.
Dogs with the bodies of ballerinas would certainly be something, but this optical trick clearly comes from the pup being positioned perfectly behind a newspaper ad. We wonder if the owner even notices.
Levitation? If you ask Elon Musk he’d probably say we’ll be doing it within a few years. But this shot just comes from the shadow of the flag — not of the woman’s gravity-defying podium.
It’d be pretty rude — and seemingly impossible — for this man to have his leg hooked over that woman’s waist. Fortunately, it’s not his leg at all, merely the pattern of her shirt that creates this illusion.
This photographer got pretty creative with his props, using an old watering can to make it appear as if he was sprinkling the moon. These illusions are all mind-boggling in their own right. But some optical tricks actually went viral on the internet—and made headlines.
Not many people would think much of this picture of a tree in the middle of a meadow. Well, not until they realized that it was actually a man in dark camouflage wearing what appeared to be a tree costume. “Run, Forest, run!”