Monday, April 18, 2016

Luna's Gift... Optical interest

"My husband will never let me get goats," my cousin once told me. "He thinks they have creepy eyes."

It's those horizontal pupils. They take some people by surprise.  Not round like a humans, or vertical like a cats, but big, dark, horizontal slits.
I had to wonder what purpose those sideways eyes served. So I did a little research. As it turns out, the positioning of the pupil has a lot to do with if an animal is predator or prey.  Goats fall firmly into the prey category.

Since goats spend a lot of time grazing things that grow on the ground, or browsing into low shrubbery, they need eyes that will help them see above and behind them while they eat. Grazing animals can rotate their eyes 10 times further than humans can, allowing them a wide field of view. And those oddly shaped eye slits allow them to keep their eyes parallel to the ground, no matter what position their head is in.*

It is hard for one to sneak up on a goat, and they can thank their unusual eyes for that. And that cousin I mentioned earlier?  She has two pretty new little doelings at her house. I bet her husband will learn to think their eyes are lovely.

1 comment:

solarity said...

It has been So Long since I got to scratch a goat's head. Those close-ups made my finger twitch.

Mary Anne in Kentucky