Can Lizards See In The Dark? – 2022 Best Pet Care Guide

Hi pet lovers, Welcome to petstufffhq, today we’ll be taking a closer look into if lizards can see in the dark?

This article is well detailed and you’ll discover alot on if lizards have the gift of eyesight and most importantly if lizards can see in the dark? So stick around and read until the end, you’ll be more exposed than before you read my articlev.

Let’s get right to it!!!

Can lizards see in the dark?

Can lizards see in the dark?

House lizards are creatures that sleep and are able to clearly see in darkness due to their outstanding sensitivities for light as well as color.

Nocturnal lizards generally possess larger pupils, which allow them to better catch light in dark regions, with the pupils being squeezed into narrow segments when intensity is increased.

Larger pupils may cause animals blurred vision. However night-time lizards have developed multifocal lenses in order to make images more clear.

We humans depend on our vision for a variety of things, including how we view things as well as the food we select to eat, the manner in which we learn about the world around us, the clothes we wear and how we respond to our surroundings.

It’s no surprise that for those who are able to see vision, it plays an enormous role in how people live their lives. It’s possible to say that vision is equally important in animals, just like it’s to humans.

A lot of experts believe that reptiles don’t possess a keen sense of vision. However, new studies and research has proven that all animals, even reptiles have better vision than human beings.

Some reptiles, including snakes, depend on their other senses including their sense of taste and smell to navigate the world.

But, lizards depend primarily on their sight. They can perceive the colors of their surroundings and use them to communicate and make choices as well as some are able to see colours in extremely dim lighting.

Do lizards have eyes in darkness? Certain lizards, such as geckos, see in darkness. In fact, they see such a great deal that they can not only detect shapes and movement however, they also be able to see color in the night because of the numerous rods that are light-sensitive and cones that are in their eyes.

The lizards that are night-time travelers can hunt in complete darkness.

Let’s dig deeper into the topic in hand and learn the details about how Lizards see both in the dim and light.

How Well Can Lizards See?

The most remarkable aspect of the lizard the fact that these animals have a striking resemblance to dinosaurs from the prehistoric period that they are referred to as being the descendants of dinosaurs.

However, lizards have the capacity to adapt to the changing environment and times. Crested geckos for instance were once diurnal. The rods were larger than the cones inside their eyes.

However, since their ancestors had to adjust to the changing times the rods were taken away and created cones. Thus, today, the crested gecko rests all day. Their pupils are slits in the vertical direction that regulate the amount of light that gets into the eye.

In the evening the pupils are large which means that the gecko with a crested face can perceive fairly well, enough to be able to distinguish some colors in the darkness.

The bearded dragon that has two eyes on the back of its head is able to see more clearly and have a greater scope of vision than human beings.

We have our eyes positioned in the front of our faces are able to clearly see the scene in front of our eyes and can see peripherally towards our shoulders.

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However the bearded dragon has the ability to see ahead, and be able that allows it to look over its shoulders.

The Reptilian Eye

Can lizards see in the dark?

The reptilian eye is so that every eye is a body full of fluid (aqueous humor as well as vitreous) to prevent it from collapse. The outer wall is known as the sclera. Inside the sclera lined by a sensory layer that is known by the name of retina.

The sclera’s exterior will be covered with a clear cornea which is a hole in the middle called the pupil. In the iris, there is a muscle with pigmentation that decides how big the pupil. Behind the pupil and the iris is the lens through which light travels and allows the reptile to see.

As humans, lizards also alter shapes of their pupils in order to focus on objects in close proximity or objects at a distance.

The majority of lizards have pupils that are round however, nocturnal animals, such as the crested gecko have pupils that are vertical.

The vertical pupil reduce the amount of light that can enter the eye, however, the vertical pupil aids in bringing objects in the distance into sharper focus.

According to research conducted done by Richard Shine and Francois Brischoux of at the University of Sydney, Australia The reptiles’ eyes were more closely linked to hunting activities than nighttime activity.

They examined the pupils of 127 species of snakes and found that snakes that take their prey to the ground at night have pupils that are vertical while diurnal snakes who actively hunt for their prey are equipped with round pupils. It appears to be an identical pattern in the lizards.

How Does The Lizard Eye Function?

Lizards are reptiles, and are closely connected to snakes. The scheltopusik is one lizard that is even similar to snakes. The general rule is that lizards have small heads, shorter necks, long bodies as well as longer and longer tails. However, unlike snakes, the lizards’ eyes are movable.

The eyelids of lizards perform similar functions to the human eyelid does that is to clean and protect the eyes. However, some lizards don’t blink, like the gecko. Geckos have a transparent membrane that shields their eyes from UV rays and dirt.

They utilize their tongues to wash of any dirt that could build up around or near their eyes.

The eyes of lizards are similar to those of vertebrates. In simple words the pupils of their eyes permits light to travel through the lens.

The light centers in the retina and this stimulates these photoreceptors. These cells transform the light signal into electric impulses that are sent to the brain for processing.

Vertebrates now have two kinds of photoreceptor cells, cones and rods.

Rods are able to detect levels of light that are low and cones sense colors.

Cones are encased with an ingredient that blocks the light, allowing animals to perceive colors. In some lizards the cones emit ultraviolet light.

Nature appears to give animals the ability to sense in accordance with their habits of hunting and sleeping. Many animals living in darkness don’t have the ability to see colors as well in the night.

Therefore, when a more detailed examination was conducted, animal scientists discovered that nocturnal animals have eyes that have a lot of rods but less cones.

However, geckos even those that are nocturnal can perceive fairly well due to the three cones inside its eyes.

Can lizards see in the dark?
Can lizards see in the dark?

Interestingly enough, animal scientists could even find the eye that is third in a few species of lizards, such as the bearded dragon. It’s called”the parietal” eye. The parietal eye is situated on the top of head of the lizard, and it’s purpose is to measure the amount of light.

According to a research conducted by King-Wai Yiu of John Hopkins Medicine in 2006 The parietal eye can distinguish between colors, mostly green and blue. The ability to detect the difference in colors lets the lizard know the time of day and could influence the behavior of lizards when they bask.

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Why Do Lizards Need To See Color?

It is important to know that there are more than 4675 species of lizards across the world which includes chameleons, geckos, iguanas and monitors. In fact, even the 300-pound Komodo dragon is in the category of lizards.

The anoles and the chameleons show how they use colors not only to identify the identity of different species but also to show their moods as well as interpret the moods of other species.

Chameleons shift color to demonstrate aggression and dominance, as well as receptivity submission, and a lack of receptivity to the species they belong to. Male chameleons alter color to attract females or repel competition.

Similar to anoles, they also, use dewlaps, which are an open fold of skin hanging from the throat or neck that an animal. Dewlaps that are brightly colored and act as flags to identify anoles.

Animals also use color when making decisions according to a study carried out by Manuel Leal and Brain Powell of Duke University clearly showed.

The research they was published within the Journal of the Royal Society: Biology Letters indicated that during the experiment, anoles, various color discs were utilized as hiding treats for the anoles and the one which was used to hide the treats was the one that the anoles repeatedly chose to be rewarded with rewards.

Lizards are fascinating creatures to admire and admire. Although lizards can be a bit mysterious, mystery, there’s no denying the fact that lizards in general including the crested gecko as well as the bearded dragons, are fantastic pets.

In recent years the lizards like geckos or chameleons have risen to great popularity as pets for the home.

Additionally, Lizards do better when kept in captivity than the wild. Lizards are low-maintenance pets since they don’t eat very often, require minimal maintenance and can be quite content when left alone in a safe enclosure.

Animal scientists are incredibly keen to learn the most information about the lizard as they are able to. Lizards are able to see not only at night , but also during the day as well.

Are All Lizard Eyes The Same?

It’s easy to believe that all lizards have the ability to see in the dark and with this particular optic system. However, the reality is that these animals are far more intriguing and varied than we imagine.

The majority of lizards are diurnal. This includes the well-known bearded dragon. There is another category: certain species, like the leopard gecko , are lizards that are crepuscular that make dusk and dawn their most active times.

There are studies that show that some species of lizards have evolved to become diurnal repeatedly. Some species also share the hours of their day (a nocturnal lizard could require some degree of vision once they’ve finished hunting at dawn, in the similar way that crepuscular lizards do).

In light of how diverse and closely linked the functions of these are and how closely related they are, drawing the line between diurnal, nocturnal and crepuscular lizard eyes could get a bit more complex.

However, research shows that the macroscopic aspects of these eyes offer enough important information about each lizard’s individual.

Can lizards see in the dark?

Beyond these physical distinctions research suggests that for animals that have overlapping activities, the changes in their eyes as they’re in shifts between different hours of the day are still detectable by an analysis of morphometrics.

Overall it is possible to say that nocturnal animals have an innate superpower that they possess in the realm of night vision.

In a way, the expression “the eyes are the windows to the soul” is a little gets more meaning when we consider all the ways that we can learn more about our history and lifestyleregardless of whether what we’re talking about isn’t the lizard you have on your wall.

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Do Lizards Have A “Third Eye”?

A fascinating fact about Lizards is that a few specie (along along with the other reptiles belonging in order Rhynchocephalia and the order Squamata suborder Lacertillia) are able to have an extra eye on the top of their heads called the parietal eyes.

While the parietal eye is normally covered in scales as growing lizards mature, it’s still visible to some reptiles particularly when they are young. Some reptiles known to have this eye include the tuatara, slowworms monitor lizards, skinks lacertids and the iguanids that are selected.

The precise role of the eye is being investigated and I might write another article to further investigate this issue However, research suggests that the parietal lens has significant connections to the following aspects:

  • Reptiles’ pineal gland, and its effect on serotonin and photosensitivity are influenced by the environment (whether they are more tolerant to lower light levels or not)
  • Melatonin production, as well as its physiological and behavioral impacts that include the thermoregulation capabilities

The reptile’s ability of tracking the sun’s rays and utilize it to detect the direction and orientation of the sun, and


An intriguing clue as to understand how color vision developed from creatures with limited development like spineless scallops, into more developed ones, like us humans.

Do All Lizards Sleep?

Yes, lizards sleep! Their schedule is determined by their hours of waking, like we mentioned above. It is evident that some species of lizards, particularly the ones with eyelids, such as leopard geckos.

What about crested geckos as well as other lizards who do not have any eyelids?

Sleep signs may not be evident for these creatures, they do require it. The signs typically include an elongated pupil (and eyes in the shape of crested geckos) and a slightly eyes that look glazed.

Additionally, even those who do not have eyelids remain protected by the clear membrane known as Brille.

This is a common characteristic they share with snakes, with this membrane acting as a permanent contact lens for their eyes , and being shed on a regular basis by their skin.

The possibility exists for people to dream too. Although it is widely acknowledged the fact that all species however, it was believed that only birds and mammals can experience fast eye movements (REM) sleep which is usually associated with dreaming. However, it’s been discovered reptiles also experience it.

The biggest differentiator in this case is the length. As opposed to our 60-90 mins of experiencing this state reptiles have only 60-90 seconds during their.

Scientists believe that reptiles’ capability to REM sleep could have a connection to an ancestor shares with mammals approximately 350 million years ago.

Certain groups of reptiles such as lizards are equipped with the “third” or parietal eye which may be linked to their thermoregulation, photosensitivity as well as sense of direction and possibly their role in color vision.

Lizards are sleepy; in fact REM rest has been recorded in reptiles. The duration is 60-90 seconds during each cycle.

Bonus Video:

Check out the 15 most unique reptiles in the world!

I hope that this article was useful, and remember sharing is caring.

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