Did you know that you can tell if an animal is usually the predator or the prey just from the shape of their eyes? Research from the UK and the US have found direct links to the shape of pupils to whether an animal can be seen as a predator or prey. These researchers took a look at over 214 species of animals to draw their conclusions.

Animals that may be considered herbivores, or those that only eat plants, are likely to have horizontal pupils. Animals like this would include zebras, antelopes, or even deer. Research suggests that these animals have a horizontal pupil to be able to see landscape at long lengths. This ultimately allows the deer or antelope to be able to accurately see any predators from all positions and gives them the ability to flee if they are attacked because they can see their surroundings well. Some of these animals that we would consider as prey, can actually rotate their eyes. This feature is for when they are eating and the can have the ability to look at their surroundings and maintain alertness. Some of these animals include goats, horses, moose, and even sheep.

In comparison those animals that hunt and are close to the ground, usually have eyes that feature slits. Vertical slits allow for these animals to have improved depth which is essential if they are trying to pounce or attack prey from a distance. Some of these animals include, but are not limited to snakes, lizards, domestic house cats, and more. Some of the larger predators such as tigers and even humans have circular pupils. Researchers believe this is ultimately due to their size and ability to see at higher distances.

While there are some animals who do not quite fit into the findings of the research, overall those animals that are more inclined to be prey have different shaped pupils than those animals who are considered predators. Over time more research will showcase more of these details and will ultimately dictate further understanding on the power that eyes have for not only animals, but humans.

For more information on eyes, eye care, and vision needs contact Vision Source Specialists today.


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From infants to great grandparents, the doctors and staff at Vision Source Specialists provides quality eye care that promotes a lifetime of healthy eyes through prevention by focusing on education and specialty care throughout the Black Hills. For more information on how to keep your eyes healthy contact one of our offices to schedule your appointment today with Dr. Jared Pearson, Dr. Dawn Wattenhofer at Vision Source Specialists, the premier leader in Black Hills eye care.


Rapid City Office

318 Mt Rushmore Rd. Suite A
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 399-3937
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