I got tricked today

First post in a while on forums, and first time in a while I have visited too. Hello again!

Today while I was on a nature walk I noticed something and got very excited over it when I had first seen it. Here is a picture of roughly what I was looking at:

Looks very interesting and rare, doesn’t it? That is what I thought anyway. It made me stop in my tracks and stare for a few seconds, trying to comprehend what I was looking at. I rush over and kneel down. I look at it in awe. “What a beautiful plant!” I think to myself. It took me about half a second to realise after kneeling down that…

It was just a bit of rope. You will never guess how disappointed I was!

I would like to know if any of you have stories similar to this, where man made objects tricked you into thinking it was something natural and rare. This one is quite embarrassing for me but I found it quite hilarious at the same time!


Maybe worthwhile to post a link in Trash talking: Strangest Things? to this topic?

I got duped by a rope too, my “snake molt”. I think my favorite so far is @OlinLathrop’s survey whiskers (best guess).


this was a big letdown for me: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/66884328


Haha! I will for sure link this on that trash talking topic. Thank you for telling me about that!


I stalked a least tern for quite a while in Tampa Florida, trying to get closer to it for a photo as it was completely out of season. Finally I realized it was one of those decoys they put on the beach to attract nesting terns.


I had a similar issue but was a different species. So i am trying to photograph every species on the planet of everything and one day this year I saw what looked like a Snow or Ross’s Goose in a group of Brant canadensis. Got closer and it was a Mute Swan!!! a species i already had photographed. A month later it was replaced with an Anser anser Domesticus. LOL


that sucks man i got bamboozled by a fake coyote decoy lol


I got tricked while identifying stuff by these sculptures popping up in the unknowns. Had another one that was ID’d as Plantae and I tried my hardest to narrow it down to a genus but it turned out to be human-made garden decor. I think that observation may have been deleted - can’t find it any more.


I’m sure there have been plenty of times I have seen a tree stump or leaf in the wind and thought it was a bird. And cords and hoses I thought were a snake. But what comes to mind was an opposite situation. Something I thought was trash but was actually an animal. I was at an aquarium store and thought I saw a piece of black and yellow electrical cord on the floor. Something like this:

And then it moved. :astonished: It was actually a baby ribbon eel that had jumped out of its tank. It looked like this:

I called the store owner over to rescue it. :relieved:

Edit: I’ve been tricked by duck decoys too


Bungee cords in the road can look amazingly snake-like, especially those that have a color pattern. I’ve IDed at least one I’ve seen at night to species, only to find it wasn’t a snake at all.


I got tricked by some of those fake hawks people put on roofs to try and scare other birds away, lol. I was super far away from the rooftops in question, so I couldn’t see that they were fake until I’d opened the pictures on my computer…


Nice story! I have the same story during my first week here at iNaturalist. I really got excited thinking I spotted some unusual and exotic white fungus (after being under the influence). Imagine my disappointment after using Seek that it cannot pinpoint the species. It might very well someone carefully placed some cotton pads between trees for some weird reason. (There was also a paper next to it.)


I will be damned if it indeed turns out to be a prestage(?) growth of some white fungus or something!



I followed the sound of a bird I’d never heard before, only to discover that it was some woman’s squeaky flip-flop.


Schrödinger’s snake: Is it a nope rope or just nope, rope?


You’d be surprised how many people think pistachio shells are clam valves.


i do this with the sound of a keychain on my own bag. looking around, wondering why the squeaky sound stops when i stop moving…
i usually realize it’s not a bird now. usually.


so many times i thought i saw a colorful flower, but turned out it was just some littered napkins :sob:


Oh my! I’ve patiently stalked pine cone parts on bracken leaves. Then there’s bird poop moths that are, well, bird poop. Many birds in trees that are stuck leafy tree debris. Tree stump turkeys.
I’m stopping there. It gets embarrassing with a long list.


They’re a popular snack food for fishermen around here, so I’m always finding them half-buried in the lake mud, getting very excited for about 10 seconds, and then realizing what they are lol.


In my trip to West Mexico a month ago, I got really excited because I saw my first wild great-horned owl in front of a hospital, on a very very very tall building, just to realize a second later that it was a decoy to scare away birds from colliding against the windows…