Animals don’t see the world in the same way that we do. Some creatures have simple eyes that only let them see shadows or detect the difference between light and dark. Other animals have incredible vision and can glimpse colors that can’t be detected by the human eye. In this article, we look at 22 examples of animal eyes. We’ll look at some pictures and learn some interesting facts about each of these unique species.
22 Animals with Amazing Eyes
Whether an animal has two eyes, eight eyes, or dozens, some creatures have eyes that have to be seen to be believed! All of these 22 animals have eyes with astounding qualities that help them see more of their environment.
In the wild, animals rely on senses like vision to find food and detect predators and other threats. Many creatures have developed unusual adaptations that protect their eyes and allow them to see in truly unusual ways. These animals use their eyes to learn more about the world around them.
Most dragonflies are fairly small, but its two compound eyes allow it to see the world in incredible detail. Both of these eyes have thousands of lenses, which makes it possible for dragonflies to detect all kinds of colors.
In addition to their compound eyes, dragonflies have three more eyes that have simple lenses. Thanks to its eyes, dragonflies can sense minor changes in ultraviolet light, which helps them to create stable flight paths throughout the day.
2. Arctic Reindeer
The arctic reindeer’s eyes change with the seasons. In the summer, when temperatures are warmer, its eyes are a shimmering shade of gold. When the weather grows colder and the days grow shorter, its eyes shift to a deep shade of blue.
Changing the color of its eyes allows the arctic reindeer to see clearly in different light conditions. When the reindeer’s eyes are blue, it’s better at sensing blue light. Its golden eyes help it to deal with the bright summer sun.
3. Colossal squid
No living animal has bigger eyes than the colossal squid. Its eyes can have a diameter of around 10 inches, making them comparable in size to a basketball! While the size of its eyes is already impressive, the colossal squid’s eyes also have several incredible features!
Its eyes are equipped with light organs called photophores, which function as headlights. Not only can it see clearly in the dark, but its huge visual cortex helps it to see all kinds of details.
When you look at a chameleon, you’ll see eyes bulging out of both sides of its head. The position of its eyes gives the chameleon panoramic vision! Chameleons also have a concave and convex lens, which lets it see objects from miles away.
Many animals have upper and lower eyelids, but chameleons have a static eyelid that covers most of their eyeballs. Chameleons also have an additional eyelid called a nictitating membrane, which it uses to moisten and clean its eyes.
Measuring up to nine feet tall and weighing close to 300 pounds, the ostrich is the largest bird in the world. While ostriches are already very large, they also have massive eyes that are bigger than their brains!
An ostrich’s eyeballs are nearly 2 inches in diameter and are around five times larger than the average human eye. These huge eyes help ostriches to spot predators and see the world in amazing detail.
At the center of a crocodile’s eyes is a streak of receptors known as the fovea. Not only does this feature give their eyes an unusual appearance, but it also helps crocodiles to see more clearly. Its eyes also contain microscopic crystals which help crocodiles to see in the dark.
Crocodiles aren’t able to move their eyes, but they are able to adjust their vision, allowing them to see things from up close and from a long distance away. These reptiles are also known for shedding involuntary tears that help keep their eyes moist.
The tarsier’s eyes are enormous, especially when you compare the size of its eyes to the size of its body. A tarsier’s eyes are around 0.59 inches in diameter. In comparison, a tarsier’s entire body measures around 4.72 inches long!
Since the tarsier’s eyes are so huge, it isn’t able to rotate its eyes in its sockets. Instead, it can swivel its head nearly 180 degrees, which lets it see in many directions. Inside its eyes are photoreceptor cells that give it excellent night vision.
8. Mantis Shrimp
No creature in the animal kingdom has eyes like the mantis shrimp! Human eyes have three photoreceptors, and most bird eyes have four photoreceptors. In comparison, a mantis shrimp’s eyes can have as many as 16 photoreceptors!
Mantis shrimps are the only animal in the world that’s able to see light that is circularly polarized. Its eyes are also able to work independently, which lets it see the world in a truly unique way.
The goat has horizontally elongated pupils and wide-set eyes on each side of its head. Due to the placement of their eyes, goats have an impressive field of vision. This field spans from 320 to 340 degrees, which means goats can clearly see objects that are ahead and to the side.
Since goats have slit pupils, they have a great deal of control over how much light their eyes see. Goats are also very sensitive to movement and have amazing depth perception.
10. Jumping Spider
In addition to having eight legs, the jumping spider has eight eyes. These eyes are divided into four pairs, with each pair serving a different purpose. Its primary eyes are located in the center of its head and are capable of seeing colors and details.
There’s another pair of eyes at the back of its head, allowing the jumping spider to see forward and backwards. Other sets of eyes help it to detect motion and see from many different angles.
Since camels live in the desert, their eyes are exposed to harsh sunlight and lots of dust. Thankfully, their eyes have all kinds of features that provide them with protection. Camels have an extra transparent eyelid that shields its eyes without obstructing its vision.
A camel’s eyes are also protected by two layers of eyelashes, which help to block out dust and the sun. The camel also has sharp vision and is able to see clearly whether it’s day or night.
12. Great-Tailed Grackle
The great-tailed grackle has bright yellow eyes that stand out against its deep black plumage. These eyes are capable of rotating in every direction, allowing the bird to view two separate objects at the same time.
While the great-tailed grackle needs to blink to keep its eyes moist, it’s able to blink at a lightning fast speed when it’s in flight. This gives the grackle a clear view of its environment at critical times.
13. Leaf-Tailed Gecko
This nocturnal lizard has large eyes with incredible patterns. While colors and patterns can vary from species to species, many leaf-tailed geckos have eyes that look like they’re made of marble.
These distinctive eyes are a form of camouflage. Since this gecko doesn’t have eyelids, the patterns of its eyeballs are designed to blend in with the environments around them. The leaf-tailed gecko also has vertical pupils that blend in with the rest of its eyes.
Unlike most birds, penguins split their time between land and water. That’s why its eyes have features that allow it to see clearly in all kinds of environments. Penguins have a flattened cornea and powerful eye muscles, which allows them to change the shape of their eye lenses when they dive underwater.
The penguin also has a transparent eyelid that functions like a pair of goggles. This eyelid helps to block out debris that’s in the water while also helping penguins to see clearly as they forage for fish and other types of food.
15. Four-Eyed Fish
Despite its name, the four-eyed fish has two eyes, not four. With that said, both of its bulging eyes are capable of seeing double! Each eye has two corneas and pupils and is split by a thin layer of tissue.
When the four-eyed fish swims near the water’s surface, its eyes are able to capture light from underwater and above ground at the same time. Thanks to this, the fish can hunt for all kinds of prey, whether it’s in the water or on land.
An owl’s eyes are shaped like a tube. Due to their shape, these eyes can’t move in any direction. However, this unusual design provides owls with exceptional depth perception and binocular vision!
Not only do owls have unusually-shaped eyes, but their eyes are also massive. Depending on the species, an owl’s eyes can be as much as 0.5 percent of its body weight. These large eyes can let in lots of light, giving owls great vision in the dark.
17. Thorny Oyster
While there are lots of animals that have more than two eyes, the thorny oyster has dozens of eyes! These eyes are located along the edge of its shell and help it to detect light and movement from many different directions.
The thorny oyster isn’t able to move, which means it has to rely on its eyes to find sources of food. It’s a filter feeding animal and is able to feed on particles of food carried by water currents. Having so many eyes also makes it easy for the thorny oyster to glimpse potential predators.
18. Red-Eyed Tree Frog
True to its name, the red-eyed tree frog’s eyeballs are a bright shade of red. While its eyes already stand out when they’re opened, they can look even more unusual when they’re closed! This amphibian has a transparent eyelid that’s covered in a bold striped pattern.
In addition to that eyelid, tree frogs have another set of green eyelids. When they want to blend in with the environment around them, they can shut those eyelids, which helps it to blend in with leaves and other types of foliage. If it’s disturbed, it can make its eyes bulge to scare away potential threats.
The eagle is known for having incredible vision. In fact, when someone has keen eyes, they’re often described as having “eagle-eye vision.” Humans typically have 20/20 vision, but an eagle can have 20/5 or even 20/5 vision.
At the center of an eagle’s eye are two depressions called fovea. Every millimeter of each fovea contains millions of cones that enhance an eagle’s vision. Since an eagle’s eyes are located on the sides of its head, it also has a visual field of 340 degrees!
Since there’s just one color-sensitive protein in a cuttlefish’s eyes, these cephalopods shouldn’t be able to see in color. However, cuttlefish are able to view different wavelengths of light by quickly changing the position of their eye’s lens.
The cuttlefish also has unusual pupils with a w shape. Experts believe that these off-center pupils help cuttlefish to view the actual color of objects. In addition to seeing colors, a cuttlefish’s eyes help it to accurately determine the distance of objects, even when they’re far away.
21. Ogre-Faced Spider
Many spiders have limited vision, but an ogre-faced spider has eyes that are even more sensitive than a cat’s! While its eyes don’t have irises, the spider is able to gather available light and create a light-sensitive membrane that gives it excellent night vision.
Unfortunately, this membrane isn’t permanent. When the sun comes out, the membrane is destroyed. Thankfully, the spider’s eyes will continue to gather light while the sun is out, which means it can see clearly again when night falls.
22. Hammerhead Shark
The hammerhead shark has extremely wide-set eyes. While the position of their eyes may look a little strange, it gives them much better vision than other shark species.
Hammerhead sharks have incredible binocular vision and a 360 degree view of their environment. They can see things that are in front of them, to the side, and can even view things that are above or below them.