The internet is divided by this bizarre optical illusion

A close up of the donkey/fish optical illusion
(Image credit: Twitter)

Time and time again we see optical illusions take over the internet (figuratively speaking, that is). From rotating horses to upside-down Elon Musk, we have seen plenty of different designs. Some look like they magically move, some cause shapes and objects to disappear and some totally divide users on social media – just like today's brain-boggling illusion. 

A mysterious optical illusion has blown up on Twitter after the likes of J.K.Rowling and Stephen Fry retweeted the design. The mind-boggler is a peculiar shape of an animal. And while the original illusion asks whether you can see a fish or a mermaid, many users are seeing different animals altogether. If you're loving this brain-frazzler, then make sure you check out our roundup of the best optical illusions

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According to the optical illusion, if you're right-brained you'll see a fish and if you're left-brained you're more likely a mermaid. But the design seems to be causing some confusion because people can only spot a donkey, aardvark, kangaroo or a seal – and one user even went on to say they could see a tied up bin bag. 

I've been staring at this illusion for a long while now, and all I can see is either a donkey or a seal. It seems as though I'm not the only one feeling perplexed by the design, with users flooding Twitter with their thoughts. One user said,  "I’m so glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t see a fish or mermaid," and another responded, "I’m convinced that the question posed was meant as a joke". 

All this debate about the optical illusion reminds us of a few mind-meddlers we've seen recently. Just last week we were left stumped by an illusion of a rotating horse. We also saw the internet divided by the cat illusion when no one could decide exactly what direction it was walking. 

Could the mermaid and the fish just be a red herring (get it?) to throw us all off? Either way, we'll be mulling over this mysterious design for a while. If you'd like to have a go at creating your own optical illusion, then why not check out our guide on how to download Photoshop and get creating?

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Amelia Bamsey
Staff Writer

Amelia is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After completing a degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering a range of topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, optical illusions, logos (she's a particular fan of logo Easter eggs), gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.