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- All of the animals on this list were born blind. Although blind, many of these animals have their own way of viewing the world if not by sight.
- Many of the animals on this list are either found deep underground or deep in the ocean.
- Some of the animals on this list are born without eyes.
The phrase “blind as a bat” is a serious misnomer, as most species of bats are believed to have eyesight as good as or even better than humans.
It’s an old wives tale that’s been passed down due to the nocturnal nature of the species, but there are a surprising number of animals that get by without the need for sight.
Despite missing what many creatures consider to be the most vital organic sense, many of these creatures manage to thrive despite having no eyes or otherwise being blind.
So how do these animals manage to evolve with one of the five core senses entirely missing? Sometimes these creatures live in environments that are so dark that sight is irrelevant.
Other blind animals rely on their other sense or even develop new sensory organs to compensate for the lack of sight. But for some of these creatures, bad eyesight is a liability that they manage to overcome through their other unique abilities.
#10Animal that’s Blind: Star-Nosed Mole
The star-nosed mole is hunted by everything from domestic cats to hawks to foxes — a fact that would seemingly make this blind animal’s continued survival impossible.
But the fleshy tentacles that protrude from the mole’s face cover admirably as a replacement for eyes by allowing this weird creature to identify vibrations in the Earth as well as sense electrical fields.
By prodding with these tentacles roughly a dozen times a second, the star-nosed mole maps out a complex vision of the world around it that includes the presence of both predators and prey. Functionally, it trades sight for a supercharged sense of touch.
The star-nosed mole is also one of the fastest diggers and eaters in the world, but you can discover plenty of other facts about them here.
#9Animal that’s Blind: Hydra
The freshwater polyp literally has no eyes, but it still manages to hunt prey and evade predators by responding to the light around it. In fact, these creatures only hunt during the day, as the conditions for traditional sight are necessary for their behaviors.
Rather than employ complex sensory receptors like eyes, the simple photo-receptive cells within the creature autonomously trigger the firing of a barb when in the presence of light.
Researchers see in the hydra a primitive precursor to the human eye, but these creatures are more miraculously believed to be functionally immortal since they seem to be completely unaffected by the process of aging.
#8Animal that’s Blind: Naked Mole-Rat
The naked mole-rat isn’t technically blind, but its eyes are so small that they’re of practically no value to these bizarre-looking rodents.
They instead rely more on their other four senses to operate both above and beneath the ground, and these creatures actually see exactly as well both in the light and the dark.
Like the hydra, the naked mole-rat has a quality that humanity can be envious of ― a complete absence of the receptors that cause it to feel pain.
The naked mole-rat lives in an environment where bad eyesight isn’t a liability, but they’ve also developed other strange habits to suit their environment which you can learn about here.
Naked mole-rats are not completely hairless. They have whiskers on their faces and on their tails that allow them to keep dirt off of their bodies. However, like many other mammals, they cannot balance their own body temperatures.
#7Animal that’s Blind: Eyeless Shrimp
The eyeless shrimp were discovered in 2012, thanks to the fact that they’ve adapted to living exclusively in the peculiar environment of volcanic sea vents — and the blistering temperatures of this ecosystem invite only the boldest of predators.
Oddly enough, these shrimp are actually born with eyes, but they lose the eyes and develop a light sensor on their body as they reach adulthood.
These primitive sensory organs are essentially just capable of recognizing light, but they’re an effective enough guiding presence for the shrimp which navigate the environment using infrared.
Scientists believe that this swapping of one sensory mechanism for another goes hand in hand with the shrimp changing diets and habitats as they age.
These eyeless crustaceans may be the most unusual members of the shrimp family, but you can learn more about their brethren here.
#6Animal that’s Blind: Deep Sea Lobster
The first sign that the deep-sea lobster — formally known as Dinochelus ausubeli — is blind might be the fact that it’s albino.
A lack of pigmentation is common in deep-sea creatures that need neither protection from the sun’s rays nor camouflage from predators with functional eyes.
Bad eyesight is the name of the game at these depths, and the deep-sea lobster makes use of unusually mismatched claws to hunt for its prey and evade predators.
This strange deep-sea creature is just one of the latest of nearly 100 species of lobster that have been discovered, and you’ll find plenty of information on these crustaceans here.
#5Animal that’s Blind: Sinopoda scurion
If you want to have trouble sleeping at night, imagine an arachnid that needs no eyes to be the perfect predator.
That’s the case with a cave-dwelling species of huntsman spider that trades in the usual eight eyes for none at all.
But that’s par for the course, as the Laotian cave where the Sinopoda scurion was discovered is also home to blind scorpions, fish, and crabs.
Ironically, the spider was named after the Swiss headlamp company Scurion — known for making even the deepest caves visible.
The Sinopoda scurion is just one of 1,207 known species of huntsman spider, which you can learn about in more detail here.
#4Animal that’s Blind: Texas Blind Salamander
The deep waters in which the Texas blind salamander navigates require no vision, but you can still catch a glimpse of two black spots on the salamander’s face where Its eyes should be.
Otherwise, these albino amphibians sense changes in water pressure as a way of detecting prey and sensing when predators are near.
And since they live in an isolated habitat, these blind creatures manage to occupy the top of a food chain that also consists of invertebrates like snails and shrimp.
Unfortunately, this species is highly endangered thanks to a limited habitat and human disruption.
The Texas blind salamander is also deaf like all other members of the salamander family, and you can discover more about their unique physiology here.
#3Animal that’s Blind: Mexican Tetra
As a member of a species born exclusively in waters of pure darkness, every Mexican tetra is born forced to survive on touch alone.
In fact, these fish are born with eyes that then degenerate into sockets for storing fat deposits over time. But in addition to losing both its eyesight and its pigmentation, this cavefish’s skeleton mutates over time to force them to swim in a counterclockwise manner and employ swimming patterns that match the geography of a cave channel.
But these fish manage to survive with such a bold lack of defense mechanics and only the most rudimentary navigational tools simply because they’re the apex predators of their environments.
Despite some skeletal differences and blindness, these fish are no different from the standard tetra fish, which you can learn about here.
#2Animal that’s Blind: Olm
The Texas cave salamander can only be found in a small stretch of waters in Texas, but it has a curiously similar cousin that exists only in European waters.
The olm is a similarly albino salamander that lives only in the water, but these two species seem to have developed in complete independence from one another.
But the olm has captured the imagination of researchers because it’s capable of living for as long as a century.
Just as fascinating is the olm’s navigation method — employing mechano-, chemo-, and electro-receptors to make sense of their sightless worlds.
The unique physiology of the olm makes it a fascinating subject for researchers, and you can dig more into their results here.
#1 Animal that’s Blind: Golden Mole
The horrific tentacles that consume the face of the star-nosed mole allow it to create a map of its environment, but how does the comparatively normal but blind golden mole make sense of its world?
Research suggests that it comes down to a combination of the unique environment in which they live — the Sahara Desert — and the sophisticated design of their cranial bones.
Research is still early, but it appears that their inner ear can sense the frequency of vibrations in the desert sand and use it to steer them towards prey and away from predators.
Summary of Blind Animals
In fact, there are many different species of animals in the animal kingdom that are naturally, born blind. Many of them are on our list:
|10 Animals That Are Blind|
|10. Star-Nosed Mole|
|8. Naked Mole-rat|
|7. Eyeless Shrimp|
|6. Deep Sea Lobster|
|5. Sinopoda scurion|
|4. Texas Blind Salamander|
|3. Mexican Tetra|
|1. Golden Mole|
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Which animal has poor eyesight? ›
Snakes have infamously poor eyesight, which is why they resort to sticking out their tongues all the time to get a sense of their surroundings.Is Rat a blind animal? ›
Researchers in the Czech Republic found evidence that two species of mole rats use their poor vision to detect breaches in their tunnels. Mole rats spend nearly all their lives underground, but they are not blind as was long thought, and are even color-sensitive, new research confirms.Are there any mammals that are blind? ›
Many species of mammals, such as rabbits, are actually born blind (born with their eyes closed and eyelids fused together), with their eyes opening a little while later. Of course, treatment exists for animals with blindness, however, not to the extent that it does with humans.Which bird is blind? ›
There has only been one report of a blind, free-living bird: a kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) . Additionally, a North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) has been described to be blind, but was a captive bird .Are snakes blind? ›
Snakes have poor eyesight compared to other reptiles, although they still see colour and ultraviolet light.Are bats blind? ›
No, bats are not blind. Bats have small eyes with very sensitive vision, which helps them see in conditions we might consider pitch black. They don't have the sharp and colorful vision humans have, but they don't need that.Are ants blind? ›
1. Are ants blind? Ants have two fairly large compound eyes and can detect movement pretty well. Several ant species, such as army ants, spend the majority of their life underground and are completely blind.Are bats blind or deaf? ›
The vision of bats is tuned to low-light conditions such as is present during dawn and dusk. While some bats may not have as good color vision as humans, their overall vision may be better than humans during dawn and dusk. Bats have both excellent hearing and good eyesight.What creatures don t have eyes? ›
- Star-nosed Mole. This mole is virtually blind and is nocturnal in nature. ...
- Atretochoana. This animal has been recently discovered in the Amazon River. ...
- Sea Urchins. ...
- Hydras. ...
- 5. Japanese Swallowtail Butterflies. ...
- Mexican Tetra. ...
- Texas Salamander.
Scientists have known as much for a long time, but they were never certain how urchins detect light, because no known species has eyes of any kind. Their best guess was that the net of nerves enveloping an urchin's body included some diffuse light-sensitive tissue.
Which insect has no eyes? ›
A team led by Dr. Simon Tierney discovered that a species of blind water beetle expresses opsin genes which are usually only found in species with eyes, even though this species has lived underground for millions of years and is eyeless. The research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.Are dolphins are blind? ›
They have adapted to life in the muddy river and are functionally blind. They rely on echolocation to navigate, communicate and hunt prey including prawns, catfish, and carp.Which fishes are blind? ›
Blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) can sense light when young, even though their eyes lost their function over a million years of evolution. Scientists have found that the fish larvae can detect an overhead shadow and seek shelter by swimming towards it. ?Is a owl blind? ›
Various owls have only rods in the retina, resulting in an absence of colour vision but a great increase in visual acuity and light sensitivity. Contrary to popular opinion, owls are not blind in strong light.Is a Crow blind? ›
All crows are unusual in another important way that piqued Kacelnik's interest. They have a very wide field of binocular vision -- a 60-degree arc where the fields of each eye overlap. That's more than double the binocular field of vision for pigeons, and within the range of human binocular sight.What flying insect is blind? ›
Butterflies Are Legally Blind - How Can This Be? As you watch a butterfly navigate the flowers in your back yard, or a pesky fly avoid your flyswatter, keep in mind their vision is quite different than yours and mine. In fact, most insects are legally blind, but you would not know it from looking at them.Are lizards color blind? ›
What Can Reptiles See? Reptiles can see color. Most reptiles are tetrachromats, which means they have 4 types of cones (humans only have 3 – red, green, and blue). This means that they can see the entire rainbow that humans can see, and more.Are anacondas blind? ›
They have thick necks and narrow but large heads. All anacondas have nostrils and eyes on the tops of their heads, which allow them to see above the water while remaining mostly submerged.Can snakes cry tears? ›
Snakes Never Cry
A pair of nasolacrimal ducts drain the fluid into spaces in the roof of the mouth. Because the spectacles are attached to the skin, the tears cannot overflow from their eyelids as they do in mammals. This is why snakes cannot cry.
Ten species tested had no color-sensing cells, while seven had only one type. Sharks may be able to smell blood from miles away, but they probably don't know how red it is: New research suggests sharks are color-blind.
Are elephant blind? ›
Elephants are colorblind.
They have one type of cone for red and another for green. Elephants can see similarly to colorblind humans. They can see the colors blues and yellows but cannot tell the difference between reds and greens.
Lions have fewer cones so see less colour but have great night vision especially since their eyes also have a membrane that concentrates weak light back to the retina and their pupils are able to enlarge to an extent much bigger than ours.Is bat a blind animal? ›
No, bats are not blind. Bats have small eyes with very sensitive vision, which helps them see in conditions we might consider pitch black. They don't have the sharp and colorful vision humans have, but they don't need that.Are any fish blind? ›
The blind fish, called Astyanax mexicanus, live in isolated limestone caves in northeast Mexico. Over hundreds of millennia of living in darkness, the fish, which have a sighted ancestor, accumulated genetic mutations that affect eye development, and so lost their sight.Are dogs color-blind? ›
Human eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green. Dogs possess only two types of cones and can only discern blue and yellow - this limited color perception is called dichromatic vision.Are cats color-blind? ›
Since a cat's cones are most sensitive to blue and yellow wavelengths of light, they do not see colors like red, orange, or brown. They are similar to people with red-green color blindness—red hues likely appear as the color green to your cat.Can elephants cry? ›
Elephants do grieve, and they are one of the few animals who are similar to humans in mourning patterns. Believe it or not, elephants cry.Why do elephants cry tears? ›
The main reason elephants look like they're"crying" is simply because they lack the drainage canals that most mammals have to wick the moisture away. With nowhere to go, the tear fluid accumulates at the medial canthus (the inner corner of the eye) and then spills out from there down the face.What are the three blind men? ›
Three blind men come across an elephant. The first man happens upon its leg, and concludes it's a tree. The second man bumps into its trunk, and concludes it's a snake. The last blind man feels its tail, and concludes it's a broom.