Have you ever noticed that some animals have green eyes? While brown, blue and hazel eyes are common in humans and many mammals, vibrant green eyes are rare. Certain reptiles, birds and aquatic creatures exhibit this unique eye colouration.
In the animal kingdom, green eyes often serve an evolutionary purpose. They can help with camouflage, mating and communication. Read on to learn about five fascinating species with green peepers.
Common Bamboo Viper
The common bamboo viper is a venomous snake found in Southeast Asia. This slithery creature is camouflaged amongst bamboo leaves with emerald green scales. But its most striking feature is the lime green eyes.
As an ambush predator, the bamboo viper uses its green eyes to blend into foliage and avoid detection from prey. The colouration provides life-saving camouflage from predators as well. When a bamboo viper remains perfectly still amongst the leaves, it becomes nearly invisible!
The venomous snake also uses its eyes to detect prey movement. Tiny muscles surrounding the pupil allow it to focus quickly on nearby motion. So even though the bamboo viper stays hidden, it can still spot potential food like birds, lizards and rodents. Its lightning-fast strike and potent venom make it a formidable hunter.
Large Forest Gecko
Found in the lush rainforests of Madagascar, the large forest gecko has bulging eyes that range from emerald to lime green. These sizable geckos grow up to 10 inches long. During the day, they sleep hidden amongst leaves and bark. Their jewel-toned eyes shine at night as they hunt for insects and worms.
So why the vivid green eyes? This colouration provides the perfect camouflage for forest geckos while resting on mossy tree trunks and branches. It also enables excellent night vision. Gecko eyes contain millions of light-sensitive cells called photoreceptors, far more than human eyes. This allows them to see colours and details even in low light.
Large forest geckos also use eye blinking and body movements to communicate. Males bob their heads and blink slowly at females to indicate interest in mating. Cool, right? These geckos put their green eyes to good use throughout the night.
Green Eye Dancing Shrimp
In the coral reefs of Indonesia lives the green-eyed dancing shrimp. This tiny crustacean earns its name from the brilliant emerald spots that cover its body and eyes. It uses this flashy colouration to communicate with others.
Green-eyed shrimp live in colonies. They wave their antennae and bob up and down to signal danger or food in a little dance. These movements draw attention to their bright spots, warning others in a visual display.
This shrimp also relies on its keen eyesight while hunting plankton. The green centres glow in the dark waters at night, giving the shrimp enhanced visual capabilities. From searching for food to socializing with others, this species puts its eyes to work.
The Egyptian Mau is among the few domestic cat breeds with striking green eyes. This natural breed originated in Ancient Egypt and is prized for its spotted coat and loyal hunting abilities. Egyptian depictions depict the cats as guardians and companions.
Today, the Egyptian Mau remains an athletic and active feline. A distinguishing feature is the gooseberry green eyes, rimmed in black eyeliner. This eye colour results from a gene mutation likely occurring in the breed’s early origins.
Besides the unique eye shade, Egyptian Mau cats have excellent vision. Their eyes have more rods than cones compared to other breeds. This allows greater night vision and motion detection skills suited for hunting.
The indri is the largest lemur species found only in Madagascar. These critically endangered primates are famous for their eerie wailing cries that echo through the forest. But they also have remarkable greenish-yellow eyes.
The indri communicates extensively through vocalizations. But, researchers believe their light eyes also assist with social signalling. When a group of indris makes eye contact, it helps them coordinate movements and maintain close bonds.
The indri’s eyes also enhance its vision within the dense rainforest. The greenish tint may enable it to distinguish leaves and fruits better. While foraging in the canopy, the indri’s eyes help spot food sources more easily.