Seeing Beyond Eyelids:  10 Animals with Incredible Vision

20th February, 2024


The ability to see with closed eyes seems like something out of a superpower movie,  but in the animal kingdom, it's a reality! Let's meet some of the incredible creatures that possess this fascinating ability. 

Skinks: Built-In Windows

Skinks, a type of lizard, have transparent eyelids called "spectacles." These act like tiny windows, allowing them to see threats even when their eyes are shut tight. 

Snakes: More Than Meets the Eye 

Snakes technically don't have eyelids! Instead, they have transparent scales covering their eyes. This protects their vision while they burrow or slither through rough terrain. 

Camels: Masters of the Desert

Camels have three eyelids – two regular ones and a thin, translucent "third eyelid" called the nictitating membrane. It acts like a shield against blowing sand, letting them navigate blinding sandstorms.

Chameleons: Tiny Peepholes

A chameleon's eyelids are fused, with only a tiny pinhole in the center for seeing. This provides all-around protection while letting them zero in on unsuspecting prey. 

Geckos: Night Vision Advantage

Many gecko species have transparent eyelids instead of traditional ones. This aids in their nocturnal adventures, letting them see in even the dimmest of light. 

Sharks: Protected Predators

Several shark species have nictitating membranes, just like camels! This provides extra protection for their eyes during the rough and tumble of hunting. 

Frogs: Submerged Sight

Some frog species also use nictitating membranes. These offer eye protection while allowing them to see underwater. 

Owls: Eyelid Versatility

While not entirely transparent, owls have highly flexible eyelids. They can see partially with their eyelids lowered, helping them adjust quickly to changes in light.

Pangolins: Armored and Observant

Pangolins, those scaly wonders, have thick eyelids for protection. Interestingly, these eyelids are also transparent, allowing them to see with their eyes closed during foraging. 

Bonus: Blind Cave Fish

These dwellers of darkness lost sight over generations of adapting to pitch-black caves. While not technically "seeing," they perceive the world through sensitive pressure receptors. 


The animal kingdom never ceases to amaze with its extraordinary adaptations! From desert dwellers to nocturnal hunters, the ability to "see" without fully opening their eyes offers various survival advantages.