12/22/2010 05:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Animal Eyes are Odd

This week's Animal Oddities post is all about animal eyes. Recently, Treehugger did a story on the subject and it made me realize how strange-looking the eyes of animals are, and how different they can be from one species to the next.

Eyes, of course, are the parts of an animal's body that it uses to see its surroundings, and they come in many different shapes, sizes and abilities. Some animals see in full color, some only in black and white. Some animals see ultraviolet parts of the spectrum not visible to humans. Some animals have eyes that face forward and provide binocular vision and depth perception, while others have eyes on the sides of their heads to see what's behind them as well as what's in front of them (not surprisingly, predatory animals typically have front-facing eyes while prey species have side-facing eyes). Amphibious and aquatic species often have eyes on the top of their heads, sometimes even on stalks, to allow them to peer beyond the water's surface without exposing their whole bodies. Some animals have jet black eyes, while others have brightly colored ones. Some animals have round pupils, others have slit-shaped ones, and some even have rectangular pupils. Some animals even use their eyes to startle predators or mimic the eyes of larger animals with completely different parts of their bodies.

No matter what kind of eyes an animal has, there is something more to them than just tools providing the sense of sight. The old proverb says that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and it's true that you can't look into the stunning eyes of an animal and not feel some kind of connection to that creature.

Here are some photos of some spectacularly odd animal eyes and don't forget to check out my Animal Planet blog for more Animal Oddities.

Crocodile Eye

Baboon Eyes

Dragonfly Eyes


Frog Eye

House Cat Eye

Spider Eyes

Elephant Seal Eye

Crab Eye


Horse Eye


Bee Eye

Elephant Eye

Owl Eye

Deer Eye

Crocodile Eye by San Diego Shooter via Flickr Creative Commons.
Baboon Eyes by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr Creative Commons.
Dragonfly Eyes by Al Power via Flickr Creative Commons.
Frog Eye by Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons.
Cat Eye by Rickydavid via Flickr Creative Commons.
Spider Eyes by Thomas Shahan via Flickr Creative Commons.
Elephant Seal Eye by Mike Baird via Flickr Creative Commons.
Crab Eye by Neils Photography via Flickr Creative Commons.
Horse Eye by wishymom via Flickr Creative Commons.
Bee Eye by kevincollins123 via Flickr Creative Commons.
Elephant Eye by Capitan Giona via Flickr Creative Commons.
Owl Eye by Vicki's Nature via Flickr Creative Commons.
Deer Eye by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr Creative Commons.