About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on Why Animals’ Eyes Shine at Night

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Interesting blog James. Us humans are definitely inferior in the dark. Luckily there is technology.

Another well written article, James. Unfortunately the talent of locating and knowing what animal lies hidden in the bush based on night eye color, is not limited to rangers and trackers. Poachers/hunters were quick to learn this trick as well.

I remember learning about the ocular adaptations of lions somewhere, can’t remember the exact book though.

I’ve also had a number of opportunities to find nocturnal animals from their eyeshine, including duikers, hares, springhares, nightjars, bat-eared foxes, genets, crocodiles, a couple of black-footed cats and aardwolves, and even a leopard (found it in our camp by first spotting its eyeshine and then illuminating it with a more powerful torch), not to mention the impala’s, gemsbok’s and zebras we also saw at night too. Spotlights are definitely a godsend, you just can’t blind the animal you’re looking at.

Fascinating and informative James. I’ve always loved night drives for the opportunity to spot those eyes in the dark. Last year I was fortunate enough to photograph a leopard at night feeding on her impala kill up a tree, after spotting her eyes with a torch. Priceless!!

James thanks for the lesson! Love the shot of the owl. You always seem to be able to find them – of course with the help of an awesome tracker!

Owls do not have a tapetum lucidum, their eyes do not glow if illuminated at night.
Tapetum lucidum makes a bright pupil, not a bright iris, as on your foto.

Thanks Albrecht. Noted and updated!

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