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Reece Biehler

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Reece was born and raised in Johannesburg where from a young age he nurtured his love for the African Bush through countless holidays to the Kruger National Park. It was here where he found his 'happy place' and it would only be a ...

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on Captivating Colouration: Unraveling the Intriguing Diversity of Mammal Eye Colours

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Thank you Reece for your insights into the colors that make up the eyes of the animals of Londolozi. I have always liked watching and seeing elephants. Their eyes are fascinating to observe as they seem slow to move yet very intense in observation.

Hi William. Thank you so much. I am delighted that you enjoyed this blog. Elephants eyes are truly mesmerizing!

Thank you Reece. For me, locking eyes with any of the cats is very special, but as you say, when a large male lion stares at you it’s pretty intimidating – and I’m always glad I’m in the vehicle and not on foot!
Do all the cats start off with blue eyes?

Hi Suzanne. The eyes of cats are truly difficult to beat. Such a special feeling to be able to lock eyes with them no matter which species. Yes most of the cats if not all are born with blue/blue-gray eyes before they change as they mature.

Favorite eyes? Has to be blue-eyed leopard cubbies. Although the sentient eyes of older elephants are right up there, too.

Hi Willa. It is a bit of an unfair question because it is so difficult to even pick a favorite!

Cool blog and educational for me Reece!For me as you know looking into and photographing the eyes of leopards is my favorite thing to do .

Hi Tony. I am so glad you enjoyed this blog! I had great enjoyment writing it and learning more about the intricacies of colour. I could have guessed Leopards would be your favourite! I hope you are keeping well and look forward to welcoming you back soon!

The EYES have it! Love these pics! The blog makes me wonder if humans have similar capabilities with eye colors (on a much lesser scale of course)! ;p

Hi Anita. Thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed the pics!

Thank you Reece for this interest information regarding the eye colour of predators and prey. If you look at the lions and leopards eyes, there is a white line underneath the eye, can this line also help against UV light. I think the eyes of a lion would be an experience you will never forget.

Hi Valmai, I am so glad your enjoyed reading this blog as much as I did writing it. The white line or rings around the eye certainly assist both Lions and Leopards with their nocturnal vision as it reflects more light into their eyes at night,

Terrific read Reece! I’m intrinsically attracted to the eye colors of the big cat predators: the amber eyes of the cheetah, the soft gold or pale jade eyes of mature leopards and the rich pale honey colored eyes of lions. However, I’ve seen a few elephants with deep amber eyes as well, absolutely striking against their long black lashes.

Thank you very much, Denise. It was a very interesting topic to look into. The variety of colours that we have the privilege to observe up close has to be one of the best aspects of a safari experience. Looking into the eyes that could tell thousands of stories.

Very informative blog Reece! The variety of animals on Londolozi provide such rich opportunities, not only for viewing and photography, but for fascinating analysis like the one you provided here on the iris coloration of their eyes!

Hi Paul, thank you very much. I am so glad you enjoyed this blog. There truly is so much wonder in this natural world that we have the privilege of calling home.

Hi Reece. I didn‘t know that the different colouration of the eyes of different species is connected to their more nocturnal or diurnal activities. So that‘s really fascinating.
Looking straight into the eyes of a lion is certainly most exciting. I often wonder what‘s going on in their minds, while they are passing our cars and staring into our eyes.

I am so glad that you found this blog insightful, Christa. It was a very in interesting topic to research! I couldn’t agree more. It is a feeling that is unparalleled.

Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting topic, Reece. It’s not necessarily my favorite but the bright red eyes of the black-shouldered kit are pretty arresting …

Hi Alex. Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed this blog. The Black-shouldered or Black-winged (New name) Kite has a stunning red eye!

Senior Digital Ranger


Interesting blog, Reece. It hadn’t occurred to me the coloration had biological advantages besides UV protection (and as a green-eyed person, I understand the importance of this personally 😎). Gazing into the eyes of a very close and very impressive elephant bull was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever encountered. It lasted only seconds, but changed my entire world view.

How many eye colorations have you observed in the adult leopards you’ve seen? Is the coloration of the leopards that live in the southwestern grasslands, which I presume have less shade, differ from those that live in the leadwood forest area of Londolozi? Does the eye color of the leopards of South Africa, differ between those that live in the lowveld versus the highveld or any other distinct ecologies of the country? Do they differ from the leopards that hunt in the darkest reaches of the Congo or India or the sands of the Kalahari or Sudan? How about the eye coloring of the different prey species? Is a snow leopard’s eye color different than that of the lowveld leopard? Why do humans have so many eye colorations, as opposed to those of lions? How many do lions have?

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