Do Snakes Have Eyelids?
Snakes are mysterious and often misunderstood creatures. They don’t look like any other animal that we are used to and their anatomy is quite unique. But do snakes even have eyelids?
Yes, snakes do have eyelids; they just look quite different from other animals. They are variously referred to as brille, spectacles or ocular scales. These ocular scales are fused and transparent, covering the eyes but not actually moving like normal eyelids.
The Benefits of Ocular Scales
These ocular scales are incredibly important to the survival of snakes. First of all, they act as a layer of protection, guarding the delicate eye tissues from physical damage. Secondly they keep the eyes clean and free of debris, as the scales are made up of a layer of microscopically fine platelets. Finally, they help improve the snake’s vision as they refract and reflect light, creating patterns that give it an edge when hunting in low light conditions.
A Deeper Look
While the ocular scales are a great adaptation for snakes, they are not perfect. The scales are prone to scratches and other damage, and without any lids that can open and close, the process of shedding tears is impossible. This means that the eyes of snakes stay dry and can’t regenerate damaged tissues by more traditional means.
Snakes also have other adaptations that help combat dryness. The eyes of a snake are typically larger than those of other animals and they have a hollowed out space behind the eyes. This space is used as a sort of reservoir, where a lubricating substance is stored. This substance is sometimes referred to as a “third eyelid”, as it provides a layer of hydration and protection to the eye.
So yes, snakes do have eyelids. However, these eyelids look much different than those of other animals and provide different benefits. It’s yet another example of the incredible adaptation and evolution that snakes have gone through so that they can survive in their environment.