List of 9 Animals With Multiple Eyelids In 2023 – (with pictures)

Last updated on December 11th, 2023 at 06:55 pm

Animals possess a unique feature – multiple eyelids known as a nictitating membrane. Found in various species like mammals, fish, and reptiles, these specialized eyelids serve distinct purposes. Explore how they work and learn the differences from normal eyelids. Delve into the roles played by nictitating membranes in the animal kingdom.

What types of animals boast these unique eyelids, and how do they function? Not all animals utilize nictitating membranes in the same way, prompting a closer look into their diverse applications.

9 Animals With Multiple Eyelids

1. Dogs

Animals With Multiple Eyelids

Image Source iStock

All dogs, including the striking Siberian Huskies, have an extra eyelid that safeguards their eyes and aids in tear film distribution. While usually unseen, some Huskies may experience cherry eye, causing the third eyelid to protrude. Fortunately, damaged eyelids can be replaced through surgery. This additional eyelid plays a crucial role in maintaining the eye health and overall well-being of these beautiful dogs.

Facts In dogs, the nictitating membrane exists in all breeds, but its coloration varies from clear to cloudy. This third eyelid serves four crucial purposes:

  1. Eye Protection: Guards against injuries.
  2. Cornea Maintenance: Keeps the cornea clean.
  3. Immunological Role: Acts as a lymph node, producing antibodies for infection protection.
  4. Tear Production: Generates additional tears for eye health.

2. Cats

Animals With Multiple Eyelids

Image Source Pixabay

Cats possess a unique third eyelid, scientifically known as the palpebra tertia or nictitating membrane, which includes its lacrimal gland. This gland produces up to 50% of a cat’s tears. While typically hidden, you might catch a glimpse of the third eyelid when your cat is extremely relaxed. Often considered a biological curiosity, this inner eyelid reveals itself during moments of relaxation, sleep, or blinking, moving across the eye’s surface from the inner to the outer corner.

3. Owls

Animals With Multiple Eyelids

Image Source Pixabay

With their mysterious and wise demeanor, owls possess a captivating eye adaptation. Hindered by their skull’s structure from moving their eyes freely, owls utilize a third eyelid, the nictitating membrane, compensating for this limitation. This unique eyelid safeguards their eyes and enables continuous scanning for potential prey, showcasing an extraordinary adaptation that ensures eye safety during hunting.

Facts Owls safeguard their eyes with three eyelids—a standard upper and lower eyelid, with the upper closing during blinks and the lower closing when the owl is asleep.

Read Also: Animals With Big Foreheads

4. Frogs

Animals With Multiple Eyelids

Frogs, numbering over 5,000 species, boast a distinctive trait setting them apart – three eyelids. This includes a semi-transparent third eyelid that fully shields their eyes underwater. Beyond protection, this transparent lid enables frogs to detect predators and forage for food even with closed eyes. This remarkable adaptation is a vital asset for their effective navigation in aquatic environments, showcasing the fascinating diversity of these amphibians.

5. Camels

Animals With Multiple Eyelids

Image Source Pixabay

Camels, resilient inhabitants of deserts, employ a remarkable adaptation to combat the challenges of sandy environments. With a third eyelid, these creatures effortlessly shield their eyes from dust and sand, acting both as a protective barrier and a functional contact lens. This unique adaptation is crucial for their clear vision and survival in the harsh conditions of desert habitats.

Facts Camels boast a distinctive feature – their eyelids close and open sideways, not vertically like ours. Remarkably thin yet protective, these eyelids enable camels to see even when closed. This adaptation allows them to effortlessly navigate windy desert days without any issues.

6. Beavers

Image Source Pixabay

Beavers possess a unique translucent third eyelid, providing partial vision even when their eyes are closed. Typically employed during underwater dives, this adaptation shields their eyes. Alongside closing their eyes, beavers can also seal their ears and nose, ensuring comfortable swimming. These combined features highlight the beaver’s remarkable ability to navigate aquatic environments.

Facts The process begins when the beavers close their third eyelids when they dive underwater. Their membrane is translucent which means they still can see under the water without irritation. That enables them to hunt and swim as long as they like with ease and comfort.

7. Bald Eagles

Image Source Pixabay

Bald eagles, iconic birds of prey, feature a distinctive eyelid arrangement—larger bottom eyelids causing an upward closure when shut. Alongside this, they boast a translucent third eyelid, aiding in eye moisture and protection. This unique adaptation enables eagles to retain some visual awareness even with closed eyes, contributing to their exceptional hunting abilities in the wild.

Facts As they soar and swoop through the sky, bald eagles exhibit a fascinating behavior— their third eyelids slide horizontally from left to right every three to four seconds. Now, isn’t that cool?

Read Also: Animals With Small Eyes

8. Polar Bears

In the frigid Arctic, polar bears navigate environments dominated by ice and snow. Surprisingly, these icy landscapes pose a risk due to the reflection of UV rays. However, polar bears have a unique defense—a third eyelid functioning like built-in sunglasses. This adaptation shields them from UV exposure, ensuring they can thrive and navigate safely in their harsh Arctic home.

9. Seal

Image Source Pixabay

Seals, remarkable marine mammals, possess a unique ability—they can sleep underwater. When asleep, they submerge their entire bodies, keeping their snouts above the water for breathing. The presence of third eyelids ensures their eyes remain protected whether awake or asleep.

Given their underwater hunting habits, seals also have third eyelids. These membranes slide from the inside of the eye towards the outer corner, aiding in debris removal and underwater eye protection. Simultaneously, the eyelids enhance their vision while swimming and hunting, showcasing the adaptability of these marine creatures.

Summing Up!

In conclusion, the diverse world of animals unfolds a tapestry of fascinating adaptations, including the intriguing realm of multiple eyelids. From nictitating membranes to translucent lids, each species has evolved these remarkable features to navigate their specific environments and ensure their well-being. Whether it’s eagles soaring through the skies or seals gracefully swimming underwater, the third eyelid stands as a testament to nature’s ingenuity.


1. How many eyelids do animals have?

Animals can have varying numbers of eyelids. While many have two (upper and lower), some species, such as birds, reptiles, and certain mammals, may possess a third eyelid known as the nictitating membrane.

2. Do turtles have multiple eyelids?

Yes, turtles have a nictitating membrane, also known as a third eyelid. This translucent membrane helps protect their eyes and maintain vision while swimming underwater.

3. 3. Do humans have 4 eyelids?

No, humans typically have two eyelids—one upper and one lower. Unlike some animals, humans do not possess a nictitating membrane or a third eyelid.


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