Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Animal Kingdom?
Green eyes have long been associated with the exotic and mysterious, perhaps because of their rarity. It turns out that green eyes are a rare feature in both the human and animal kingdom!
Which animals are lucky enough to have this stunning eye color?
There are a few familiar names on the list–and some ones you might have never seen before. With pictures, let’s explore 10 animals with naturally occurring green eyes!
When you think of lemurs, a certain image may come to mind: a striking monkey-like creature with rings up and down its tail. Lemurs, like monkeys, are a family of many different species and breeds. The Indri lemur is a lesser-known variety but is beloved for its striking green eyes.
Traditionally, lemurs have bright golden or brown eyes, especially for species like the ring-tailed lemur. But only the Indri lemur is known to have the mutation causing greenish-yellow eyes, and the reason is unknown.
In terms of the brightest, most vivid green eyes, leopards are the king of the jungle. All leopards have deep green eyes, including the black panther. If you didn’t know, black panthers are leopards with a unique melanism mutation, which is the opposite of albinism. Instead of making no pigment, they make too much of it, causing their fur to grow black.
If you look closely, however, you’ll notice that you can still see the faint outline of their spots. One feature not affected by melanism?
Their eyes–they’re just as green as the average leopard!
3) Mantis Shrimp
The mantis shrimp is a fascinating creature that packs a punch–literally! These unassuming little shrimp have been known to shatter aquarium glass and injure their keepers (if provoked). Such strong, able-bodied creatures have very large eyes that are quite fragile. They’re also hypnotizing.
Like a house fly, the iridescent coating of proteins causes the eyes to glow several different colors, most notably green. Mantis shrimp are like the chameleons of the underwater world as they have a wide variety of colors that seem to shift and change depending on the lighting and environment.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to observe one of these creatures in an aquarium and take notice of its beautiful green eyes. Just don’t make them mad!
Ducks are one of the only animals in the known world to have a green coloration, aside from reptiles. Mallards are easily distinguished by the dark green plume of feathers upon their head. Their eyes may appear brown from a distance, but when the light hits just right, you’ll notice a deep under a layer of green—even the green on their heads shifts from blue to black in the right lighting.
Mallards may be ordinary pond ducks, but their appearance is something else. From one side of the pond, they may appear an ordinary collage of browns, but on the other side, their heads are blue, and their eyes glow green!
If humans have green eyes, it makes sense that monkeys also have them. Like humans, green eyes are typically rare in monkeys. However, some breeds are more inclined to have them than others. Macaques, for instance, have variations of green and yellow eyes. These are made all the more striking on their naturally red faces.
Coupled with the fact that macaques often live in the snowbound regions of Japan, it’s interesting to consider that these monkeys are naturally Christmas colored!
6) Green Tree Python
The green tree python looks cute, but you may want to think twice before you hold one. These vibrant snakes native to New Guinea isn’t venomous, but they sure know how to squeeze.
Typically, you’ll see them piled up on a tree branch in a symmetrical pattern, much like a noodle. But once prey crosses their path, they strike down and hold the prey in their clutches until it’s time to eat.
Tree pythons (especially the average green variety) are commonly kept as pets. In terms of appearance, they’re breathtaking. Their chartreuse colored scales match their eyes, which are an equally vibrant shade of green.
Turtles are one of the first animals that come to mind when people think of the color green, but the truth is that
not many turtles are green!
The red-eared slider, pictured above, is more recognizable for its distinct patches of red and yellow stripes. It has a slight green coloration, but the most green is in the eyes.
If you look closely, turtles have a green band around their eyes that follows the pattern of the rest of their body. As for what’s under the shell, you might be surprised to learn that the turtle’s shell is an extension of the spinal column. Turtles can certainly climb in their shell, but they can’t climb out of them.
One leading cause of death for turtles is a fractured shell, usually after being hit hard. Turtles aren’t like hermit crabs; they can simply climb out and find a new shell. A fractured shell is like having a broken back, but fortunately, it is easily repaired by an animal vet.
8) Jumping Spider
Are you that one friend that is deathly afraid of spiders? You won’t be afraid of this one! Meet the jumping spider. They’re beloved for their beautiful, totally adorable eyes. Many varieties of jumping spiders have eyes with green iridescence.
You can even keep a jumping spider as a pet, and it’s becoming increasingly popular. How neat would it be to look at these precious green eyes all day long?
If you are scared of spiders, however, you won’t want to find one of these in the wild. They typically favor flat walls and forest edges near dwellings
and are attracted to light. They may be cute, but they love to jump, so don’t get too close!
One of the most recognizable frog species is the red-eyed tree frog. It’s another popular choice as a pet, perhaps because it’s one of the few frogs not to have green eyes. Most frogs have some variation of brown, yellow, or even white eyes. There are a few species with green eyes, however.
One such species is known as the White’s tree frog. This frog is native to Australia and loves anything and everything humid. Their eyes are lovely mint green, while their bodies are more of a sea foam color. They prefer vertical enclosures with many tree branches when kept as pets. If you’re lucky, you’ll notice the brilliant reflection of their eyes at night (and their obnoxious croaks, too).
Still, stuck on the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
You can remember it this way: alligators have V-shaped snouts, and crocodiles have U-shaped snouts. As for which is worse, that’s a difficult question to answer.
Crocodiles are more aggressive, but alligators are also known to bite. At least they have beautiful green eyes!
Unlike other animals on this list, the green eye trait isn’t restricted to one type or breed of alligators. Most, if not all, gators have them. Here’s hoping you never get too close to one to find out!
11) Greeneye fish
The deep sea is home to much undiscovered fish and unexplored ocean floors. However, the greeneye fish has managed to snake its way out of the deep blue yonder and into fishermen’s nets a few times. Under normal lighting conditions, you’ll notice that the greeneye is aptly named. It has reflective green, almost hazel eyes.
But put that fish under a black light, and you’ll be stunned to see that it is photoluminsecent. Not only does its entire body glow green, but its eyes glow the most vibrant. Scientists are still trying to understand the reasoning behind this unique evolutionary feature. Given their genius in naming, it may take a while before we know the answer.
12) Macropinna fish
Have you ever seen this conundrum of a fish before? Now you have. The deep sea keeps on serving fresh looks; every so often, one of these strange creatures will wash up on shore. The macropinna, also known as the barreleye fish, has a distinctive transparent head. You can see the eye sockets from the outside of the fish.
What’s even stranger is that, like the greeneye, the macropinna’s eyes glow green in the absence of light. Scientists are still trying to grasp how these creatures came to be. The first known sighting of a macropinna was in the 1930s, and it’s only been observed a handful of times since then.
Emerald Eyes Aren’t Just for Humans
The animal kingdom is full of different shapes, colors, and sizes. Still, there’s something so majestic about an animal with green eyes. An animal like the lemur can have plain black and white fur, but its beautiful eyes, like inlaid emerald cabochons, are enough to take your breath away.
Did we forget an animal on this list?
What’s your favorite animal with green eyes?