group of elephants

Optical Illusion: How Many Legs This Elephant Has?

This elephant appears to have too many legs! Or is it too few legs? We can’t tell, so, we need your help! All you have to do is count the legs on the elephant in the image below. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, get ready, this one is a bit tricky!


Optical Illusions

An optical illusion is an image that makes your brain see something that isn’t there. Or, it makes the image you are looking at seem confusing. It’s up to you to make sense of what’s really there. For example, in today’s elephant image, the lines are drawn in a very specific way. This arrangement of lines appears to give the elephant more, or fewer legs, depending on how you are looking at it However, there is a correct answer. Think you can solve it?

Portrait Photo of Smiling Woman in Red Long Sleeve Top Thinking

Andrea Piacquadio
– Pexels

While your eyes play an important role in vision, they are only one component of a larger visual system that includes many different parts such as the optic nerve, the optic chiasm and the visual cortex of the brain, to name a few.

We see when light enters our eyes and is focused onto the retina. The cells in the retina turn light into electrical signals that are then sent through the optic nerve to the brain. This visual information is interpreted by our brains allowing us to form an image in our minds. So, technically, we “see” with our brains. 


Optical illusions rely on the brain being able to make these connections, because their job is to trick your mind by giving you misleading or incomplete ‘context’. By trying to work out what’s really going on, our brains become primed for further trickery. Try enough optical illusions, work out exactly how your brain is being tricked, and your improved visual literacy may render you impervious to any illusions you later come across.


How Many Legs Does This Elephant Have?

All you have to do is focus your attention on the image below. Count how many legs the elephant actually has. Don’t let your eyes fool you – remember to really train your brain to see what’s there!

elephant optical illusion

According to Reddit legend, this image has been around since the 1800’s. And, since then, people have rarely agreed on the answer to this incredibly confusing image illusion. However, there is one answer that seems to make the most sense. Do you know how many legs this elephant has?

If you are ready to see the solution, scroll down. But, you can only solve this illusion once, so make sure you have your answer before looking at the solution.



Wildlife Photography of Elephant during Golden Hour
Harvey Sapir – Pexels

Many people had different answers to this challenge. For some, the answer was four legs. others saw 5 legs. Technically, those answers aren’t wrong, but they’re not actually correct either. The solution that makes the most sense to those who have tried to solve this brainteaser is as follows:

The elephant only has one leg. How is this possible? Well, if you look at the image again, you will notice there is only one leg that is fully complete. The other 3 legs are missing their feet. Start at the body of the elephant, where the legs start and follow those lines downward. See how they end without having feet? All except the back leg are incomplete. Therefore, the elephant has one leg. The artists clearly drew some extra details between the incomplete legs to fool us. And, it looks like it worked!

How did you do with this challenge? If you want to try some more brainteasers out, take a look at our selection below!

Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years of experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13-year-old boy.