The human eye is full of interesting curiosities, but our animal friends have eyes that have evolved with some pretty amazing features and defences. From extra eyelids to Superman night vision, we’ve listed some incredible animals and facts about their eyes.
Camels are often famed for their large humps that help to keep them cool in the burning heat of the dessert, but that’s not the only evolutionary wonder they possess.
How many eyelids do camels have
Camels have just three lids! Their eyes have incredible protective features that help them see, even in the ongoing gusts of dessert sand. First up, their long eyelashes which act like dusters. The lashes are attached to two sets of eyelids which also act as a shield from the sand. They also have a third, much thinner eyelid which functions as a windshield wiper to clean off the eyes. It closes and opens side to side, rather than up and down. It’s also thin enough that the camel can somewhat see through it, essential for days with higher winds that stir up the sand.
Owls are mostly active at night, which means their eyes are adapted to darker conditions. Owls have much larger corneas and pupils. Their retinas contain an abundance of light-sensitive rod cells which are sensitive to light.
Owls have superior vision during the night, they must have limited vision during the day. This is not true as their pupils have a wide range of adjustment that allow the correct amount of light to hit the retina
Can owls move their eyes?
Similar to the camel, the owl also has three sets of eyelids, including a thinner layer which closes diagonally. Owls also have the advantage of being able to rotate their heads up to 270 degrees without damaging any blood vessels or tendons.
3. The Giant Squid
The largest eyes on the planet belong to the giant squid. They measure around 25cm (10 inches) across, around the size of a football. Even the largest animal on the planet – the blue whale – only has an eye that measures 11cm.
It’s often theorised that the giant squid has adapted to have these large eyes to protect itself from the sperm whale. The giant squid can see light from around 120 meters away, but sperm whales obviously can’t glow in the dark, they do however, often disturb other sea creatures that emit light, giving the giant squid a warning.
4. The Chameleon
Chameleons fascinate us with their ability to change colour, but like many animals who live in extreme conditions, they have many other survival mechanisms. Chameleons have unusual eyes, their eyelids cover almost their entire eyeballs except for a small hole to let the pupil see through. Their eyes can move independently of each other, allowing it to search for both prey and other predators – talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Goats may seem like docile farm animals, but their eyes are as stealthy as a wild predator’s. Take a closer look at their eyes next time you visit grandma’s farm. You’ll notice that their pupils are in fact rectangular, not round. This adaptation allows the goat to have a 320° field of vision and no frontal blind spot.
Never sneak up on a goat if you know what’s good for you.
So, there you have it, five amazing animals and their incredible eyes. Which one surprised you the most?
Did you know that dogs can’t differentiate between red and green? Yes, they have red-green colour blindness! Unlike human eyes (3 cones), dogs have only 2 types of cone. That means, not only can they not perceive red and green colour, but they also cannot identify any shades that contain either of those colours!
So, if you’re trying to have a nice playtime with your dog, asking them to fetch a ‘red’ ball, in their eye world you are asking them to fetch a ‘brown’ ball.
However, dogs can see shades of yellow, blue and brown quite clearly. That explains why some dogs get so excited seeing a bright yellow tennis ball.
Have you ever heard someone make reference to a ‘bird brain’? If so, they might be describing someone who does not make wise decisions all the time. Fun fact: Ostriches’ eyes are bigger than their brains! How surprising, considering that we know the Ostrich is the largest bird on the Earth! Luckily, they do possess the largest eyes of any bird too - about 2 inches (in diameter). They have sharp vision and can see well at long distances (thanks to their height too), which helps them spot any predator well before they’re being attacked. Also the fastest running bird (no bird can match their speed on land), they can make a very speedy escape!