Do Lizards Have 20/20 Vision?

I think it would be interesting to see the world as every other creature does, if only for a fleeting moment! So, what do lizards see?

Well…. Lizard (including geckos) and turtle retinas contain multicolored oil droplets in their photoreceptors, so   they can perceive color.    The opsin proteins in the cones in the eye are “calibrated” to detect different wavelengths. In many species, this enables them to see into the higher wavelengths beyond the scope of unaided human vision: into the UV range.

Nocturnal reptiles usually have smaller eyes than diurnal ones, but relatively large pupillary and lens aperture and cornea. This improves their light-gathering ability, but at the same time reduces visual acuity.

Lizards can focus on near and far by squeezing or stretching their lenses, using the ciliary muscles and annular pads. Pupils dilate and contract in response to light. Nocturnal geckos like the tokay have a stenopaic pupil: contracts into a vertical slit composed of a linear array of dots. Some nocturnal lizards have slit pupils, others are round. Lizards, unlike other reptiles, have a choroid body, called the conus papillaris. Projecting out into the vitrious humor, it nourishes the cornea.

*Thank you

The spectrum of sunlight includes infrared, “visible light” (the colors we see in the rainbow) and ultraviolet light, which is subdivided into UVA, UVB and UVC.

UVA, is essential. Many reptiles have extremely good color vision. Humans have three types of retinal cone cells for color vision, and their brains combine the information from these cells and perceive the blend as a certain color. Most reptiles, however, have a fourth cone type, which responds to UVA. These reptiles see a much more colorful rainbow than humans do, which makes providing natural lighting quite a challenge. This extra color perception is especially important to many reptile species in recognizing others of their species and even food items.

Some nocturnal geckos lack the red-sensitive cone, but their green-sensitive cone also responds to red light; they can certainly see it. Studies have even shown that some use their cone types for color vision in light similar to dim moonlight. Thus it is possible that “moonlight blue” or “red night light” lamps, which usually are much brighter than moonlight, alter these animals’ view of the twilight

Sunlight also has effects unrelated to conscious vision. A reptile’s eyes, and the parietal eye (third eye) in those species that have one, transmit information to other parts of its brain responsible for setting circadian (daily) and circannual (yearly) rhythms. There are even light-sensitive areas of the reptilian brain that respond directly to sunlight’s glow through the skull. The length of day and night, the sun’s position in the sky, and the intensity and amount of blue in sunlight all give precise information about the time of day and season of the year. In response, a reptile adjusts its activity levels, and daily and seasonal behaviors, such as its reproductive cycle and thermoregulation needs. Even nocturnal species govern their behavior by monitoring day and night from their daytime hiding places.

*Thank you

…So what have we learned if the study and testing conclusions are accurate?

  1. Lizards do see colors.
  2. Most reptiles actually see a much more colorful rainbow than we!
  3. Most lizards have a parietal eye, known as the third eye, which is a photosensory organ.
  4. Also, their pupils dilate and contract, same as ours, to focus on things near or further away.
  5. I will further add to this by stating a lizard (specifically Bearded Dragons) close their eyes for 4 reasons:     a) You are overstimulating at the moment OR they don’t like you AND they want you to go away.    b) They are sleepy.    c) They are at this very moment, in perfect peace with their environment & existence.      d) They are feeling love from or toward you right now.
    “Yes, I can see very well with my cute eyes!”
    “I see Mommy has a lighting obsession.”
    “I see brother Dog is…being dogly.”
    “Mommy wonders how I see this double rainbow.”
    “Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – ♥Dawn Renee


  1. Happy New Year!

    That would have made an interesting photograph (if photography had been around back then) if Murph had encountered Joseph wearing Jacob’s famous coat of many colours back in the day.


  2. Thank you so much, Jet! Your visiting & comments mean a great deal! Made possible by the research of better-brained people on the subject matter and the adorable physical characteristics of Lil’ Murph : )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The very same be to you! haha With the proposed kindness stated to be Joseph’s, he perhaps would have made for Lil’ Murph his own colorful garment from the fragments of his own – and wouldn’t Murph look marvelous?!
    : )


  4. Oh, see this is why I loved the post. I was on date night with David and saw the post and read it together, we both thought, wow, this is interesting, because we were not sure. Excellent!!!!


  5. Very funny! But did you ask your lizard what he could see? And what did he tell you? 😎
    Like “instinct,” which is a scientific word for “we have no idea,” your speculation is a lot of fun, but we cannot know how the information is processed in the lizards’ brains, so we’re stuck at square one, wondering what DO lizards see?
    The subtitle is what really intrigued me: “I think it would be interesting to see the world as every other creature does, if only for a fleeting moment!” Me, too! 😊
    GREAT blog!


  6. I did not, but he reads my mind : ). However…
    although I speak lizard, I’m afraid he mumbled what we’re wondering under his breath, & I didn’t catch that part.

    Instinct: What you said. Haha

    Yes we are at square one. Science does not paint the scene for us when it raises more questions than resolves them. It would be so awesome to see through all those beautiful eyes! Sometimes though, I have watched my lizards throughout precious years with them, they either are seeing more colors and amazing things, or are full of innocent wonder & thoughts with no words to put them to. Thank you so very much for the drop in and the rockin’ comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Most interesting. I often try to see the world through the eyes of other people, but it seems I should also try to see the world through the eyes of other species


  8. Much appreciated – I try, but must tip my hat (proverbially) to the wiser ones that research, test, learn such things, and then publish their findings for me to find. : )


  9. Murph is fine (ish) friend. Thank you for asking. But, we don’t have good news. I’ve been thinking on the way post it. I’m not sure how, so Murph is going to tell our friends with his captioned photos (but I’m having media/uploading problems). X-rays showed fluid. A lady called with his bloodwork results. His calcium & phosporus levels are fine, but elevated liver values (I’m doing my own research on everything as well, & am currently assuming this means an enzyme(s). He may have a tumor there/something with his liver isn’t right. This could be the cause of fluid. Yeast in mouth. Yellow build up below visibility line, at surgical stage, but the doctor doesn’t know if that should happen. Murph is receiving oral medicine for that, and Orajel may be used for discomfort. Unknown what caused this, possibly too much fruit, although he eats about 75% veggies. I just don’t see it. And, cause of occasional tremors remains unknown at this time. So,it should not be MBD. He does not seem to be in pain. We’re pretty tight, so I hope I’m right. You’re the first to know. My brain is just swimming in murky waters right now.


  10. I hate this. Just a constant worry. I’m sorry it’s not over and they have all the results and can give you an easy fix for him. Life can suck sometimes. Hopefully, he’ll be fine in no time. Fingers crossed. Thinking about both of you.


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