By James Speakman

A photographer has captured a mind-boggling snap of a hyena mum and her offspring blending into one and creating a ‘cross-eyed’ beast.

The amazingly timed optical illusion shows a growling juvenile hyena nuzzling his mother’s face, combining the two into an almost symmetrical image.


The new creature appears to have an aggressive smile and an extremely powerful neck but wears a confused expression on its face.

Photographer Lisl Moolman, 44, captured the moment in the Kruger National Park, South Africa while travelling to a family event.

After taking a series of images Lisl spotted the strange illusion which made the two blend into one ‘cross eyed’ hyena.

Lisl from Phalaborwa, South Africa, said: “I was travelling in Kruger National Park from Phalaborwa Gate to Lower Sabie camp to attend a family get together.

“I encountered this hyena den just before I reached Letaba rest camp.

“There were four hyenas at the den. Two cubs, their mother and a juvenile. I noticed the cubs were in high spirits and very playful.


“One persisted in playfully bullying a very patient juvenile group member, which also seemed to enjoy playing with the cubs. The other cub preferred cuddling with its mom.

“The bullying entailed lots of chewing and jumping on the juvenile and the two chasing each other around.

“I took a series of images and when I looked at this particular one I thought it looked just like an optical illusion.

“It isn’t immediately obvious that there are two hyenas.

“It looks like a deformed or cross-eyed hyena and it is quite funny really.”


Skin care salon owner Lisl has been photographing wildlife for the past six years and spends as much of her spare time as she can outside with her camera.

Lisl said: “I started taking photos casually and as a beginner about six years ago and the hobby evolved over time.

“I am a freelance wildlife photographer and nature lover and spend my spare time in nature whenever possible.

“I have just returned from a trip to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and can’t wait to go and explore with my camera again.”