Why do goats have those weird rectangular pupils?

We have a couple of crazy goats here on the homestead. And one very inquisitive thirteen-year-old boy. Yesterday’s question of the day (ok, one of the many!):

Why do the goats have such weird eyes?

So we did a little supervised googling.

Yes, I said that. My teen’s online activity is supervised.

Anyway. We learned a few interesting things about goat eyes, and other pupils, as well.

Thorin, our Nigerian Dwarf

Turns out that the horizontal, rectangular pupil of a goat, and other animals, allow them to see a wide range around itself (up to 280° around themselves), but they have limited vertical range. This extended range of horizontal vision helps them protect themselves. They are also large enough that aerial predation is not really a problem.

We also learned that the narrower the pupil is, horizontally, the greater the accuracy of depth perception in the peripheral vision. So they can see more around them, with greater accuracy. What an ingenious design!

Rectangular pupils are most often found in animals that are considered prey, such as goats, sheep, octopuses, toads, horses and even hippopotamus. (The vertical slit pupil is usually predatory.)

See if you can identify these eyes…

4 thoughts on “Why do goats have those weird rectangular pupils?

    1. Hi, Kira! It was more fascinating than I imagined! LOL! Thanks for your comment! (Btw, I love your name! Did you know a Star Trek character shares your first name?)

      Liked by 1 person

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