You Won’t Believe What These Images Under a Microscope Really Are

By: Kate Row | Published: Sep 10, 2023

Things are not always what they appear to be. It’s all about perspective. This is especially true if you look at things under a microscope. Zooming in on everyday items will both surprise you and potentially horrifying. 

We found these images of common items under the lens of a powerful microscope and they are completely unrecognizable. Check out these images and see if you can recognize their true nature.

Is that a stick covered in melted metal?

This silver chrome object is not a stick. Nor is it something from another planet. In fact, this creepy looking thing is on your body right now! 


Source: Aminessuck/ Reddit

We’ll give you a hint. You’ll find this item on your face.


A Human Eyelash

This is a photo of a human eyelash under a microscope. It’s unbelievable that this is what human hair looks like zoomed in. We almost wish we hadn’t seen the reveal.


Source: Sampagemakeup/ Pinterest

Now we can’t stop thinking about how close this thing is to our eye! Next time you lose an eyelash take a look at it before you brush it away and think about how it looks close up. We like to call this “pretty from afar but far from good”.

It’s Not a Rose Petal

When we first saw this two things came to mind: flower petals or some kind of coral floating in the ocean. We can confidently say that both of those guesses are way off. 


Source: Caspar2632/ Reddit

We don’t think we would have known what this photo was if we were given 1,000 guesses.

A Cat’s Tongue

You read that right! This photo is an extremely close look at a cat’s tongue! If you’ve ever had a pet cat you’ll know their tongues are really rough. Those ridges help them clean themselves.


Source: Facebook

But who knew they looked so alien under a close lens? We’ll be thinking about this next time our cat gives us a lick.

Have We Stumped You Yet?

We can give you one hint on this one. This is a living creature! The texture looks like something plastic but it is in fact an animal (technically). 

Source: Thatsemguy/ Reddit

And as scary as it appears, it might actually be hanging out in your kitchen as we speak.


A Fruit Fly

If you’ve left the fruit out for too long we’re sure you have had some fruit flies flying around your kitchen. These pests can be obnoxious! Thankfully, they’re super small or else we’d be concerned about them taking over the world.

Source: Futurity/ Pinterest

You might be even more surprised to hear that this particular image is a fruit fly’s eye. Next time you’re shooing away a fruit fly you might remember this photo and let them be.


Any Guesses?

We promise this isn’t any kind of bacteria or freaky looking creature. These are the particles that make up an everyday item that you might find in a classroom. 

Source: Welshtractor/ Reddit

In fact, this item can make a really horrific noise that might make your skin crawl.



Who knew a simple stick of chalk could be so intricate on the inside? We all learned in science class that everything is made up of atoms but to actually see it on a zoomed in level is really crazy!

Source: Southernliving/ Pinterest

This kind of image requires an incredibly strong kind of microscope. It allows us to see these details which would never be possible with just the naked eye.


It’s Not (Technically) Shells

This one is a little misleading. It looks like a collection of shells and rocks and that is not exactly what we have here. 

Source: Rednibass/ Reddit

Although, you would find this object all over the beach so you wouldn’t be too far off with that guess.


It’s Sand

This is an image of grains of sand. It’s hard to imagine those tiny grains can have as much detail. Think about how much sand covers the beach and how each of these pieces is totally unique, like snowflakes.

Source: Thrillest/ Pinterest

We certainly will never see sand the same again.Now, technically sand is just eroded rock, so our guesses weren’t too far off the mark. How can something feel so soft between our toes and actually be so rough?


It’s Not An Alien

We were totally convinced that this was an alien at first glance. I mean, we can’t think of any animal we know that looks like this.

Source: Jaykirsch/ Reddit

And we’d be pretty freaked out if these things were roaming the earth. As it turns out, they are.



These are 2 day old zebrafish larvae. Larvae are just underdeveloped forms of creatures, like caterpillars in cocoons before they become butterflies. These larvae are totally miniscule and basically can’t be detected by our eyes alone.

Source: Theguardian/ Pinterest

Under the microscope, we can see the spongy detail and what looks like faces. Why do they look so shocked? We must admit, their faces match our own when we discovered what these little guys were.


Smiles All Around

Whatever this photo is, we sure know it’s happy. Look at all those smiley faces looking back at us. 

Source: Ivvidellybellyivvi/ Reddit

This object is living, but it’s not an animal or an insect. What else could it be? Here’s a hint: The color gives it away.


It's Happy Grass

This is a blade of grass! Who knew that grass was so happy? It must have gotten lots of sun and water to be beaming like it is. Interestingly, people have investigated why lots of objects seem to have smiley faces in them.

Source: realsimple/ Pinterest

It’s a phenomenon called pareidolia, which basically explains that we can see faces in almost anything. Regardless, it makes us happy to think that grass is happy as well.


A Friend From Another Planet?

We don’t blame you if you don’t have any guesses as to what this image is. To be honest, we couldn’t imagine what this could be either. 

Source: edorelia/ Reddit

But, it is an object that we are all familiar with. It might even be growing in your garden as we speak.


A Cut Rose Stem

They say every rose has its thorn. In this case, even one of the most beautiful flowers isn’t so beautiful up close and personal. If the stem looks like this we’d be interested to know what the petals would look like as well.

Source: urbaki/ Pinterest

We wonder if all those little droplets are water or something else. The texture looks really different under the scope as well. It’s almost rubbery!


Is That Hay?

Hay was the first thing that came to mind when we saw this image. 

Source: Microscan/ East News

What else could those course-looking strings be? Think smaller… much smaller!


Needle and Thread

You might have heard the expression “looking for a needle in a haystack”. Well, this is looking for a haystack in a needle! That “hay” is really just a single thread wrapped through the loop of a needle.

Source: whitewood&linen/ Pinterest

Those little frayed ends that are going every which direction are just pieces of the thread that we could never possibly see without a microscope. Feeding a thread through a needle is really difficult without a steady hand and now we know why!


A Knotted Pretzel Perhaps?

This doesn’t look too foreign to us. It resembles a knotted piece of rope or even a soft pretzel made of dough. 

Source: Jason Burns Dr. Ryder/East News

There’s definitely no aliens here, but it also isn’t exactly what it seems.


It’s Human Hair

We have millions of these little guys all over our heads. They might not appear to be bright yellow like this one but if you look close enough under a microscope this is what your hair actually looks like!

Source: Jordan Anais/ Pinterest

In photos of hair this close, it actually appears scaly. But this hair is perfectly healthy! Interestingly, animal fur and human hair look pretty similar from this perspective. 


Outer Space (but smaller)

All these wacky shapes and colors remind us of the solar system. That might be Saturn or Jupiter spinning around. 

Source: themarinediaries/ Pinterest

And all those little discs might just be materials floating around in the eather. One hint: These little guys can really glow!



These are bioluminescent phytoplankton that float around in the ocean. These special little microscopic friends can light up the ocean to give it this amazing glow.

Source: Bored Panda/ Pinterest

People will often refer to them as the stars in the sea! This is a rare case that we can’t decide if they look more amazing under a microscope or just regular. If you haven’t already seen them, we highly recommend.


On Hint

This little object is so small you would never even be able to feel it on your skin unless you knew it was there. It might give you a little tickle. 

Source: e_l_foto/ reddit

No, it’s not a plant or a snake. But, it does bite and we try to avoid them as much as possible.


Mosquito Foot

We can say that we never thought we’d see a mosquito’s foot in such detail but here we are! All those little features fit onto the tiny tip of this pest’s leg. Next time you get a mosquito bite you’ll remember that this creepy object was sitting on your skin!

Source: Ceramics/ Pinterest

We already hated mosquitoes but this makes us even more wary of having bug spray on hand so that we don’t have to worry about these little blood suckers getting close to us.


A Beautiful Rug

We would love this pattern on a rug in our home. The colors are fantastic! But, what we have here is much smaller than a rug and much more delicate. 

Source: Lightstalking/ Pinterest

If you look closely, you’ll see little hairs make up this pattern. What could it be?


A Butterfly

We’d be very impressed if you guessed this was a butterfly! We never knew that butterfly wings have hairs on them just like we do on our heads. The wings look so velvety smooth.

Source: Mungfali/ Pinterest

If we’ve learned anything from all of these images it is that things are not always as they seem. We think we’ll be taking a closer look at lots of things from now on.


Is That a Car Tire?

This looks like the grooves of a car tire, compete with all the little dust and dirt particles that get stuck in between them. 

Source: Addaddie/ Reddit

Those grooves are not rubber and they don’t belong on the road. Would you believe us if we said that this object could play music?


It’s a Vinyl Record!

Now that you know what this is it’s easier to imagine that this zoomed in image is a vinyl record. Those grooves are where the needle fits so you can listen to beautiful music the way it was meant to be heard!

Source: Bree/ Pinterest

This made us realize that we should go clean our own collection because look at all those little dust particles hanging out on the record. It probably looks clean to the naked eye but up close we can see all that gunk! 


Looking Straight On

Take a real hard look at this one and see if you can figure out what it could possibly be. 

Source: Subtyler/ Reddit

We thought it resembled a cannonball in a cannon, ready to shoot. But as we’ve learned, things are rarely as they appear.


A Ball Point Pen

Who knew the object we use to write could look so menacing up close and personal? The tip of a pen seems so sharp when we use it in our everyday lives.

Source: Jenniferjohansson/ Pinterest

Here it looks rather dull and it’s difficult to imagine the thin little lines we can make with it. You can even see the ink that has dried up around the tip of the pen. No cannons here.