Viral image of young girl features unintended optical illusion

An image of a young girl in a park has been playing tricks on internet users' eyes.

People were left baffled after looking at the image, which shows the child standing with her hands in front of her waist.

Upon first inspection, it appears the girl's legs are emaciated and misshapen, but it's an optical illusion.

Twitter users admitted that they were stumped by the photo, but upon closer inspection they realised the child was clutching a bag of popcorn that was very similar in colour to the grass in the background.

The image has been shared more than 275,000 times on Facebook and more than 37,000 people have commented on it, including many who couldn't work out what was happening.

Over on Twitter the image was equally popular, with one user writing it left her "confused for a long time".

While another wrote: "I was seriously concerned and thinking, 'This child needs to be saved and fed'.

"I saw someone mention popcorn so I thought 'Well, yes we can feed her popcorn, but is it enough?', and then I saw the popcorn bag."

Another wrote: "Took me 25 minutes to see she's holding a bag of popcorn'."

It remains unclear where the photo was taken.