What is This Thing? The Internet Answers…


Have you ever found something and had no clue what it was? If it’s truly unique or weird, figuring out what you’ve found can be surprisingly difficult. Fortunately, the internet is here to help. Reddit has an entire subreddit devoted to this, and these are the strangest things people have found, along with explanations of what they are.

Strange metal object in chip bag

Reddit user scary2020 said “I found this blue disc in a packet of sour cream crisps. Its has the words “ferrous 25mm BST, cert number 213026B” on it.”

ANSWER: Testing chip for metal detectors. As part of the quality control process, bags of chips like this are passed through metal detectors to make sure there are no foreign objects in them. The blue disc in the photo is used to to test the metal detectors and ensure that they’re working, and then they’re removed before final packaging. This one was accidentally left in the finished product. NEXT: What could that possibly be for?

Why would this be in your house?

Reddit user R6dragon asked “What is this tube full of balls in the wall in a home built in the mid 90s?” Excellent question, because, frankly, it looks totally useless.

ANSWER: Termite indicator. Here’s how it works: the balls are held up by a wooden stick, and the green ball is visible through the outlet in the wall. If you have termites, they’ll eat through the wooden stick, and the balls drop, so the green ball is no longer visible. As long as you can see the green ball, you don’t have to worry about termites. This is good design. You know what isn’t? These 40 horrible design failsNEXT: Could this one be harmful?

Paint plus…something else

Reddit user mulesrules posted this picture of a paint round, asking “Are the black particles gunpowder? What is the name of this specific type of riot ammo? Can I keep it or do I have to get rid of it, and if so, how? What is this thing shot by Atlanta PD in riot gear?”

ANSWER: Bismuth Pellets. In order for the paint rounds to work properly, they need more mass than paint along can provide. The bismuth pellets add that mass, and bismuth is dense enough that very small pellets can be used, which means they won’t break human skin, and the paint round remains safe for non-lethal use. NEXT: This thing looks like an old fashioned torture device.

It looks like it’s supposed to snap shut on something

Reddit user s1l4z_behr said “I found this metal object. No text or numbers. Can retract to be the size of a bracelet.” It’s certainly a mystery.

ANSWER: It’s a part of a handbag. Basically, is the closing/latching mechanism from an old handbag. This was used to make sure that it stayed closed and was secure. Not what you would have guessed, right? NEXT: Is this pre-historic?

This looks super creepy

Reddit user XxUFOxX11 was desperate for answers: “20 years of research and reddit is my last hope!”Incredibly, reddit came up with the answer pretty fast.

ANSWER: It’s from the throat of a fish. Freshwater drum, to be exact. They have plates of teeth in their throats for crushing and grinding the crustaceans they eat. While their mouths are actually toothless, their throats are not. NEXT: You would hate to find this in your home.

Would you pick this up?

Reddit user pbjburger found this “Weird squirming living Lovecraftian nightmare on our lawn chair this morning.” That’s a pretty accurate description, we think.

ANSWER: an unusually creepy caterpillar. It’s most likely a hag moth caterpillar, which is called a monkey worm in some places. It’s ugly, sure, but that’s probably to help it blend in with it’s surroundings or scare off predators. NEXT: You’d be terrified to find this near your house.

Imagine finding this in the middle of the woods

That’s exactly what happened to reddit user killedbyboneshark, who said “My friend found this scaffold-like structure on a trip. There was a paintball/airsoft field and a hotel nearby, but I’m confused about the purpose of this. Located in Czechia, Europe.”

ANSWER: a 3D maze. It’s probably part of the paintball fields they noticed nearby. If they’re playing capture the flag, the flag would likely be hidden somewhere inside this maze, which adds to the challenge of the game. NEXT: This can’t be real, can it?

That is one big wrench

It has to be a fake, though, right? Thats what reddit user map-6346 wants to know: “A massive wrench I inherited. Weighs 30+ pounds. Novelty or functional?”

ANSWER: That wrench is 100% functional. Big bolts require big wrenches, after all. Things like anchor bolts on large towers, for instance. Even farmers might have uses for wrenches this size. You definitely don’t see them very often, but some people really do use wrenches this big. Now seems like the perfect time to tell you that we created an entire post on The World’s Largest Things – which is full of photos just like this one. Check it out. NEXT: Always check inside the can.

What. Is. That?

Reddit user Parrmesan said “I found this squishy thing in my Monster coffee. I don’t know what it is and I’m pretty grossed out.” Us too, Parrmesan, us too.

ANSWER: Calcium and sodium alginate. Basically, it’s a bunch of calcium and sodium alginate gelled together into a gum. These are totally normal and safe ingredients in the drink, but having the concentration off by a bit, along with storing it cold for a bit too long, can cause this chemical reaction. It’s nothing to worry about. NEXT: What in the…

Seriously, what is that?

It may look fake, but it’s a very real picture. Reddit user Theheadandthefart said “My husband and I heard a big crash at 5am,like something had fallen off the roof. He found this feather mass on the ground just now. Said it feels like it has a membrane inside of it? This is in our side yard, about 4 feet of gravel between a fence and the side of the house.” What do you think it is?

ANSWER: a ball of bird skin. There are a couple of ways this might have happened. The most likely is that a bird of prey, like an owl or a hawk, was eating a bird and, as it was plucking the feathers off of it, it tore a strip of skin off the bird. The natural elasticity of the skin caused it to roll up into a tight ball. NEXT: Small, but curious. And potentially dangerous.

Scary, right?

Reddit user mosaltedchipz said “Found in a crawlspace of a house from the 80’s next to 3 red boxes encased in concrete. The “lid” with the radioactive sticker on it was found sitting on the top of that concrete slab. The red you can see is 3 metal boxes encased in 18″ of concrete with another layer of cinder blocks on top of it.”

ANSWER: It’s a lid. Lids like this were used on containers for transporting radioactive material, like radium. Fortunately, this particular lid is completely safe. The proper authorities were contacted and investigated the materials, finding no traces of radiation on them. It’s not at all clear what it was doing in someone’s crawlspace, but it wasn’t dangerous this time. NEXT: some of you might recognize this!

Booze from the deep

Imagine finding a bottle of alcohol while scuba diving, and drinking it. That’s exactly what Reddit user Skrogbusy did: “Found at the bottom of the lake. It’s booze… I haven’t died yet…” It’s a small bottle, about 16oz, and the design is pretty unique. Apparently the liquid inside was very sweet, too.

ANSWER: Icewine. In Canada (where the bottle was found), Icewine is somewhat common. It’s made by freezing wine – the water freezes, but the alcohol doesn’t. When it’s frozen, the water ice is removed and what’s left behind is a highly concentrated wine with a very high (up to 30%) alcohol content. NEXT: You’ll never guess what this next thing is….

These were found in canned tomato sauce

Reddit user Rokdout said “Found these in my cooked spaghetti. The sauce was canned.” They don’t look particularly gross, but it’s always kind of disturbing to see something in your food that you don’t recognize.

ANSWER: Rosary peas. And they’re extremely poisonous.  So, how did they end up in his canned sauce or boxed pasta? Well, rosary peas, despite their toxicity, are very popular as a form of jewelry. What most likely happened is that one of the workers in the factory wore a bracelet made of rosary peas, and some of them fell off the bracelet and into the food. Had he eaten them, there’s a very good chance he would have died. NEXT: You might have this in your back yard.

What would you do if you found this in your yard?

Reddit user redditmantim123 said “Me and my parents found this in our backyard earlier today (it reads “do not enter poison gas”) it’s on a circular concrete thing.” What would you do if you found a warning sign about poison gas in your yard?

ANSWER: The covering for a septic tank. Septic tanks are used in places where connecting a home or building to a sewer line isn’t feasible or possible. Since they’re essentially giant underground tanks that store sewage, there needs to be a way to open them up and empty them. However, they tend to fill up with toxic gas, so only professionals should open a septic tank. NEXT: Is this what happens before a Purple Rain?

That’s a weird sunset

Reddit user westspark_ said “This purple sky in Southern California seen at 1:30am and lasted for only about 5 minutes before fading away.” It’s definitely a creepy thing to see, especially at 1:30 in the morning.

ANSWER: Grow lights. Commercial cannabis growers typically use artificial lighting to maximize the growth of their crops. It’s common for those lights to be purple, because there’s something about purple light that seems to benefit the plants more. Normally, their facilities are designed so that the lights can’t be seen from the outside, so this is probably a new operation that’s having some technical difficulties. NEXT: prepare to be a little grossed out.

You might find this in your garden one day

A reddit user who’s since deleted their profile took this picture in their yard, saying “I saw this in my yard. Is this just a type of worm? Or is there a parasite on it? (I saw it breathing/have some sort of heartbeat, so it’s alive)” Budding bioligists out there may know the answer.

ANSWER: Worms. Two worms making more worms. What you see here is basically an X-rated picture for worms. It’s two adult worms reproducing. If you stumble across this in your own yard, leave them be: worms are incredibly beneficial. NEXT: Would you make tea with this?

Is it a tea kettle?

Reddit user home_cheese seems to think so: “Found this small kettle years ago. Tried searching for a similar one but have always come up with nothing. Anybody have an idea why this has this unique shape? Wallet for scale.

ANSWER: It’s a toilet. It’s no wonder their search for a kettle didn’t turn up anything useful- that isn’t a kettle. It is, in fact, a portable urinal. it’s designed for use by bedridden patients who can’t stand up to go to the bathroom. We sincerely hope this person never actually made tea with this thing…NEXT: What is THAT??

That can’t be natural

Reddit user SuprisedComrade spotted this goat out in a field in Scotland, and asked “Goat in a field in Scotland, appears to have had handlebars added to his horns?” We’re confused too, SuprisedComrade.

ANSWER: No, no one is riding the goat (probably). Here’s what most likely happened: the goat got it’s head stuck in a fence one too many times, and the frustrated farmer decided to put a stop to it. The bar across his horns makes it much more difficult for get his head through the holes in a fence. NEXT: is this some kind of UFO?

Is it aliens?

Reddit user segajennasis said “Driving through Erie PA. Weird circle in the sky. Lots of folks pulled over taking pics of it.” It’s definitely something unique, so we’re not suprised a bunch of people pulled over for it.

ANSWER: This has a pretty mundane explanation. It’s a smoke ring, probably from a blown transformer or homemade fireworks. A blast channeled through a circular structure creates a vortex in the air that shapes the smoke into a ring. NEXT: Yet another object that looks like a UFO.

Ok, but really, this looks like a UFO

Reddit user genopsyism said “Found on Guam in shallow water. 3-meter diameter disk. Top looks like polyester in a honeycomb shape that is fiber glassed to flimsy aluminum disk. I’m stumped on this one. Never seen anything like it.

ANSWER: This hunk of material is pretty beat up, but it’s almost certainly a piece of a rocket that failed before it reached out space. Specifically, it’s very likely to be the dome of one of the hydrogen tanks used for fuel on a Chinese rocket that failed after launch. NEXT: what would you do if this thing bit you?

That’s one big lizard

Reddit user 2FanForCan asked “What is this Lizard? It bit me on a beach in Naples, FL” If you’re wondering what might cause a lizard to bite you, picking it up to take a picture of it is definitely pretty high on the list.

ANSWER: Cuban Knight Amole. Anoles are common in much of the US, but they’re usually much smaller than this. They’re famous for their ability to change colors- often switching from bright green to dull grays and browns. They’re not aggressive, which means for one to bite you it has to have been provoked. NEXT: Some of you will know this one…

Any guesses?

Some of you may recognize this one already. Reddit user Pw_w posted this image, saying “What is this thing? It perfectly fits in each other and there was some sort of liquid in it.”

ANSWER: Ok, well, mainly it’s used for the grinding of a particular plant that often gets lit on fire. You know the one. But, it can be (and often is) used to grind other herbs and spices. This person’s grandmother bought it, so we really would like to know exactly how that conversation went. Great for tea leaves? NEXT: Imagine finding this!

What is it?

Reddit user saltysailor said :”Found in my dads toolbox, no idea what they are (he’s a carpenter)” Any guesses as to what they are?  Surprisingly, this one was solved almost immediately.

ANSWER: Many people use them for removing splinters but….yes, pumps. More specifically, chest pumps if you k now what I mean. You most often find them at adult stores, but like anything else, they can be bought on Amazon. Fortunately for this Reddit user, there’s a very good, and non-embarrassing reason a carpenter would keep these in his toolbox: they’re very good at removing splinters. NEXT: What’s this guy doing?

What’s that scanner thingy?

It may look like something out of a cheap action movie, but this is a real picture. Reddit user Zoltanu asked “What is this Scanner that a Rooftop Cop had at a Protest? Seemed to be shining a green laser at certain people in the crowd.

ANSWER: Pointing a big green laser into the crowd is exactly what he’s doing. In situations where a crowd might become violent, police use these laser pointers to track people who might be armed or otherwise considered a priority. It’s easier to use the laser pointer from above, and the laser pointer makes it easy for other officers to spot the person than trying to hear directions over a radio. NEXT: Some of you might know this one as well…

The dog brought this home

Reddit user ClavonClavon said “Walking the dogs when one of them bought this to me. 2 AA batteries inside it, black plastic and doesn’t appear to have any function.” What do you think it is? Do you already know?

ANSWER: Specifically, a remote-controlled toy. Specifically a remote-controlled toy made for fully-grown human beings. This is why it has no buttons and appears to have no functions. We’re betting the person who posted this wasn’t too thrilled that their dogs were chewing on it.