No snakes do not have eyelids as such, but they do have a different method of keeping their eyes clean and clear.
Snakes have a “Brille” which simply is just a scale which covers the eyeball.
When a snake sheds it skin the brille will also come off, this ensure that their eyes are protected and clean throughout their lives.
If you have a pet snake, it is important to check if the brille scale has come off after a snake sheds it skin. This is because if the brille does not come off it will create an extra layer with each shed, leaving a snake open to infection and possible eye damage.
If you do notice your snakes not shed their brille is stuck, the use of a rubber thimble and some water is best for removing this from your snake.
What Does Brille Mean?
The term brille comes from a German translation of “Glasses”
Because of the brille spectacle a snake has not need to blink, nor can they close their eyes.
The brille covers the eye keeping the air out and ensuring that the eyeball is hydrated at all times.
A snake always has to sleep with their eyes open because they do not have eyelids.
Can Snakes See
Snakes are able to see, but their vision ability varies massively from species to species.
The most important factor when determining a snake’s vision is when they are active. Nocturnal and diurnal snakes seeing ability has adapted to when they hunt for increased success.
Another important part is UV, this really impacts a snake’s ability to see better or worse.
Nocturnal snakes have adapted to hunt with little to no UV aid, this allows snakes to see during the night and help when a snake is stalking their prey.
Whereas diurnal snake species eyes have adapted to be able to see which the UV is high and during the daylight hours.
A good guide to know if a snake is a night or day hunter, generally is from their eyes. A nocturnal snake will have line eyes during light, and a diurnal snake will have a round pupil during daylight hours.
Snakes do not need the best vision as they have other senses which can prove to be more of a benefit when searching for a meal.
- Heat pits, these pits at surrounding their nose are a great asset to a snake, allowing a thermal vision type of hunting. As snakes tend to hunt warm blooded prey, their heat pits will guide them to any lurking rodents in the area and can strike at them with pinpoint accuracy.
- Secondly is their sense of smell, which we know is from their tongue, as a snake flicks out Its tongue it will pick up molecules and feed them to the Jacobson’s organ, which in turn helps snake track down and locate any prey that may be close.
Snake Eyes Conclusion
Though a snake does not have the best vision in the world, they are reliant on other senses and combine them into a great hunting reptile.
A snake’s ability to see varies from each snake species and the type of prey they are likely to hunt. Most snakes are not completely blind though there are some snakes which live underground which are completely blind as the ability to see would serve no purpose to this type of snake.
Therefor in some species of snake their ability to see is far from the most important asset to a snake in the wild.