Big-Eyed Animals

Animals with large eyes may look scary or may mesmerize with their staring. However, they all have big eyes for some reasons that help them survive in the wild. Below we will tell you more about some big-eyed creatures and the purpose of their charming eyes.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier
These are probably the cutest big-eyed creatures. They are named for their elongated "tarsus" or ankle bone. All tarsiers have enormous eyes; each eyeball is approximately 16 millimeters (0.63 in) in diameter and is as large as, or in some cases larger than, the entire brain of an animal. Their eyes are fixed in their skull and tarsiers cannot move in their sockets. Instead, a special adaptation in the neck allows the round head to be rotated ...
180°. Their eyes are disproportionately large, having the largest eye-to-body weight ratio of all mammals. These huge eyes provide tarsiers with excellent night vision. In bright light, their eyes can constrict until the pupil appears to be only a thin spot. In low light or darkness, the pupil can dilate and fill up almost the entire eye.
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Philippine Tarsier
Margay
Margay
Margays have large eyes situated to provide them with binocular vision. Their night vision is especially good due to the presence of a tapetum lucidum (a layer of tissue in the eye), which reflects light back inside the eyeball, and gives felid eyes their distinctive shine. As a result, the eyes of these wild cats are about six times more light-sensitive than those of humans. Margays are skillful climbers, and spend most of the time in trees, ...
leaping after and chasing birds and monkeys through the treetops. They are also able to jump up to 12 ft (3.7 m) horizontally. A margay has even been observed to mimic the vocalization of a Pied tamarin infant while hunting. This is the first observation of a Neotropical predator employing this type of mimicry.
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Margay
Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko
Unlike most lizards, geckos are usually nocturnal and have excellent night vision; their color vision in low light is 350 times more sensitive than human eyes. All geckos, except species in the family Eublepharidae lack eyelids; instead, the outer surface of the eyeball has a transparent membrane, the cornea. They have a fixed lens within each iris that enlarges in darkness to let in more light. Since they cannot blink, species without eyelids ...
generally lick their own corneas when they need to clear them of dust and dirt, in order to keep them clean and moist.
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Tokay Gecko
Gray Mouse Lemur
Gray Mouse Lemur
Gray mouse lemurs have large prominent eyes and a tapetum lucidum (a layer of tissue in the eye) to enhance their vision at night. They usually forage alone at night often scurrying like mice and leaping over 3 m (9.8 ft), using the tail as a balancing organ. When on the ground, either to catch insects or cross short open areas, Gray mouse lemurs hop like a frog. When hunting, they primarily use vision to detect the prey and then catch ...
invertebrates and small vertebrates with a quick hand grasp.
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Gray Mouse Lemur
Senegal Bushbaby
Senegal Bushbaby
Galagos, also known as bush babies are small nocturnal primates with large eyes that give them good night vision. They also have acute hearing, and their ears are bat-like and allow them to track insects in the dark. They catch insects on the ground or snatch them out of the air. Galagos are fast, agile creatures. They are also very playful and often swing off branches or climb high and throw things. They also play fights, play grooming, and ...
following-play. During following-play, two galagos jump sporadically and chase each other through the trees.
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Senegal Bushbaby
Ostrich
Ostrich
These are large flightless birds of Africa who lay the largest eggs of any living land animal. Their eyes are said to be the largest of any land vertebrate - 50 mm (2 in) in diameter; this helps them to see predators at a great distance. The eyes are also shaded from sunlight from above. With their acute eyesight and hearing, ostriches can sense predators such as lions from far away. When threatened, the birds will run away, but they can cause ...
serious injury and even death with kicks from their powerful legs.
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Ostrich
Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel
Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel
During the day this adorable flying squirrel hides in a hole of a tree and emerges at night to feed on buds, leaves, bark, fruits, and seeds. Despite having large eyes, flying squirrels can easily forage for food at the night, using their highly developed sense of smell. Flying squirrels are not in fact capable of full flight in the same way as birds or bats; they are able to glide from one tree to another with the aid of a patagium, a furred ...
parachute-like skin membrane that stretches from the wrist to ankle. Their long tails also provide stability as they glide and act as an adjunct airfoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk.
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Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel
Gray Slender Loris
Gray Slender Loris
Lorises are nocturnal creatures and thus require an excellent vision that will help them move skillfully along the tops of branches at night searching for food. Slender lorises have extreme stereoscopic vision. Their eyes are surrounded with darker fur and have orbits that look straight forward giving excellent stereoscopic vision and are located the closest together amongst the primates. Lorises usually forage singly during the night and sleep ...
in groups during the daytime. They make nests out of leaves or find hollows of trees or a similar secure place to live in.
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Gray Slender Loris
Barred Owl
Barred Owl
These nocturnal hunters have large, forward-facing eyes and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye. Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets so they must turn their entire heads to change views. As owls are farsighted, they are unable to clearly see anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of hairlike feathers on the ...
beak and feet that act as "feelers". Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good.
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Barred Owl
Asian Vine Snake
Asian Vine Snake
Asian vine snakes or Asian whip snakes have almost unique eyes in the reptile world. They have keen binocular vision and keyhole-shaped pupils. These snakes are arboreal and diurnal. They use their binocular vision to strike their prey and often hunt from branches overhanging the water. Their venom is not considered to be dangerous to humans but serves to cause paralysis in their fast-moving prey choices.
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Asian Vine Snake
Cape Genet
Cape Genet
Genets are also nocturnal creatures and have large eyes with elliptical pupils. They can move their eyes within their sockets to a limited extent, and move their heads to focus on moving objects. Genets are highly agile, have quick reflexes, and exceptional climbing skills. They are the only viverrids able to stand on their hind legs. They walk, trot, run, climb up and down trees, and jump. Cape genets are both terrestrial and arboreal, but hunt ...
and feed on the ground. During the day, they rest in trees and become active after dark when it’s time to search for prey. They find most of their prey in low bushes and leaf litter, and they are considered to be opportunistic omnivores.
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Cape Genet
Panther Chameleon
Panther Chameleon
The eyes of chameleons are the most distinctive among the reptiles and function like a gun turret. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, with only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. Chameleons can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously; their eyes move independently from each other. It in effect gives them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their bodies. When prey is located, both eyes ...
can be focused in the same direction, giving sharp stereoscopic vision and depth perception. Chameleons have keen eyesight for reptiles and are able to spot small insects from a long (5-10-m) distance!
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Panther Chameleon
Ringtail
Ringtail
This big-eyed member of the raccoon family is native to arid regions of North America. The ringtail is primarily nocturnal and its large eyes and upright ears make it easier for an animal to navigate and forage in the dark. An adept climber, the ringtail uses its long tail for balance. The rings on its tail can also act as a distraction for predators. The white rings act as a target, so when the tail rather than the body is caught, the ringtail ...
has a greater chance of escaping.
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Ringtail