Animals with blue eyes are a rare occurrence in nature due to being linked to recessive genetics, mutations, and specific genes. Despite that, many species still have beautifully rich blue eyes. While some species boast only blue eyes, others have various eye colors due to dominant gene strains.
In humans, blue eyes are a genetic mutation in the HERC2 gene which inhibits OCA2 expression. This results in a lack of pigment and blue eyes. Animals also have specific genes that contribute to the lack of pigmentation. So, let’s take a look at animals with blue eyes.
#1 Siberian Husky
Siberian huskies have some of the most stunning light blue eyes. A chromosomal abnormality born with less melanin in their irises contributes to their unique eye color. The reduction of melanin ends up causing a lighter eye. Specifically, the ALX4 gene decreases pigment production in their irises.
#2 White Tiger
White tigers are another animal that has stunningly beautiful blue eyes. Unlike other animals, the gene responsible for blue eyes is linked to white fur. White fur is also linked to an inherited trait following a Mendelian recessive pattern, including blue eyes.
#3 Blue-Eyed Black Lemur
Despite most primates having dark-pigmented irises, some, like the black lemur, have predominantly blue eyes. Interestingly, humans and primates share a phenotype evolution distant from the primate tree. The species’ blue eyes are caused by a special genetic abnormality called Waardenburg syndrome.
#4 Siamese Cat
Siamese cats have some of the most beautiful eyes for a cat breed. What causes the blue pigmentation is an albino gene. The gene causes a lack of pigmentation in their eyes, which makes their irises appear azur blue. Essentially, it’s caused by a genetic mutation that causes a lack of pigmentation or melanin in the eyes.
#5 Australian Shepherd
The gene that produces the Australian shepherd‘s amazing fur pattern is also responsible for producing blue eyes. The coat gene affects dark pigments and includes a variegated pigment, affecting the eyes. Due to this, Australian shepherds can have either fully blue or partly blue eyes. While only one of the merle genes can produce blue eyes, two will always result in blue eyes.
#6 Arctic Foxes
Unlike other animals, the Arctic fox has various eye color variations. Blue is just one of them and is a trait mainly due to a genetic mutation or through breeding. Arctic foxes usually have deep golden or orange-yellow eye colors, which helps with the glare from the sunlight hitting the snow.
#7 Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai breed is a dog with blue eyes but can have other colors depending on their genetics. This can include brown, hazel, and green. In most cases, the Klee kai breed lacks the Merle gene and has low pigmentation, resulting in the blue eye color.
#8 Blue-Eyed Leucistic Ball Python
The blue-eyed leucistic ball python is a snake known for its stunning light blue eyes. They are easily identifiable due to their completely white scaling. It’s known as the “Blue Eyed Lucy” or “BEL” and is extremely rare. For breeding to produce blue eyes and coloring, a successful low pigmentation needs to be inherited from a Butter, Lesser, Mojave, Phantom, or Russo snake.
#9 Piebald Camel
Some camels, such as piebald camels with more white on their head, end up with blue eyes. They are also known for developing heterochromia of the iris, which can result in one brown and one blue eye.
#10 Blue-Eyed Anglehead Lizard
The Blue-Eyed Anglehead Lizard has large, beautiful, vibrant blue eyes. However, only the males of the species have blue-colored irises. This is likely tied to the Y chromosome, as females tend to have brown eyes.
#11 Wild Horses
Horses have beautiful blue or brown eyes, depending on their genetics. Breeds with white markings or light-colored coats, such as the Akhal Teke, are more likely to develop blue eyes. This is mainly because the lighter coats and markings affect melanin levels. So, horses will have low melanin in their irises, creating a blue color.
#12 Blue-Eyed Larval Crab
One of the more unusual animals with blue eyes is the blue-eyed larval crab. It’s a small crab that has not begun its molting stage of developing a shell. During this time, the small crab has beautiful blue eyes, almost like turquoise tones.
#13 Northern Gannet
The northern gannet is a bird with icy blue eyes. Still, a bird flu infection, avian influenza, has caused part of the population to have black eyes instead. Younger Gannets tend to have dark blue-grey eyes to pale blue-grey.
#14 Yellow-Rumped Caciques
The yellow-rumped caciques are a part of the New World blackbird family and have pale blue eyes. The eye ring is sky blue, but the pupil is black. Often, their eye ring are confused to be the whites of their eyes. However, it’s due to their eyes being so big.
#15 African Bush Viper
The African bush viper often has very strong pigments in its eye. While it can come in various colors, the blue-eyed variety can be found in Africa’s DR Congo. The blue pigment can range anywhere from pale blue to bright cyan.
#16 Turkish Angora
Unlike other cat species, the Turkish Angora has a unique gene that affects their eye color. Their vibrant blue eyes are tied to a gene responsible for their hearing deafness. This gene also affects their white fur coat.
#17 Blue-Eyed Hermit
One of the main notable characteristics is its vivid blue eyes. Since the crab’s body is pink, the blue eyes stand out. There are a few different types of hermit crabs with blue eyes, including the red claw, Caribbean, and white-clawed blue-eyed hermit crabs.
#18 Blue-Eyed Shag
The blue-eyed shag, also known as the Antarctic shag, has a blue, purple, or red ring around its eye, with a black iris. Many people mistake the ring as a part of their eye, but it’s blue-colored skin that encases the eye. There are 14 species of this bird, meaning there is a lot of variety in eye coloring.
#19 Blue-Eyed White Tree Frog
With most animals, the lighter tone of skin or fur results in light-colored irises. The blue-eyed variety is a morph of the original for the white tree frog. Typically, the white variety tends to have golden eyes instead.
A rabbit‘s eye color works a bit differently from other animals. Instead of relying on melanin, a rabbit’s eye turns blue from the size of two-particle pigments. For example, rabbits with larger particles tend to develop brown eyes. On the other hand, smaller particles result in blue eyes. However, a bunny’s eye can turn brown over time as it ages due to particles expanding.
#21 Mountain Lion
Did you know mountain lions are born with blue eyes, but the pigment changes to golden brown over time? Young mountain lions will have blue eyes that stay pigmented until they reach 16 months of age. From this time, their eyes tend to switch to a brown or amber color.
Leopards, specifically snow leopards, are born with either green, blue, or grey eyes. Animal experts guess this is an evolutionary advantage that allows them to blend in with their environment. However, the eye colors of other leopard species vary from blue and green to yellow and orange.
Dalmatians are a dog breed known for their bright blue eyes, but that wasn’t always the case. In 1996, the piebald gene affected the breed and caused their coat to become more white. Another effect of the gene also affected their eye color with a lack of melanin. So, the breed’s eyes became blue.
While young Weimaraners have bright blue eyes, they often fade as the pup ages. The eyes will change to either gray or a mixture of the two. Like other dog breeds, the DNA sequence ALX4 is responsible for the lack of pigmentation resulting in blue eyes.
#25 Blue-Eyed Cuscus
Endemic to two small islands of Ternate and Tidore in Indonesia, this small marsupial has developed beautiful blue eyes. While cuscus can have orange or red eyes, the blue-eyed species is due to its unique pale marbled coat.
Summary of the Complete List of 25 Animals with Blue Eyes
|Blue-Eyed Black Lemur
|Alaskan Klee Kai
|Blue-Eyed Leucistic Ball Python
|Blue-Eyed Anglehead Lizard
|Blue-Eyed Larval Crab
|African Bush Viper
|Blue-Eyed White Tree Frog
The photo featured at the top of this post is © 244162930/Shutterstock.com
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