Why Do Goats Have Rectangular Pupils?

Why Do Goats Have Rectangular Pupils

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Did you ever stare back at the goats and notice something strange about their eyes? I bet you have, as goats have a habit of staring straight in the eyes and the child in us wants to know who wins this staring game? 

I don’t know if it’s just me or my readers also get scared too whenever they try to look into their eyes for a few seconds. Few animals are blessed with strange eyes and goats are one of them. If one asks me what’s so different about their eyes? Without thinking for a second I would say, “They have rectangular pupils.”

Yes unlike us, Goats have rectangular pupils

Goats, sheep, octopus, and toads are the few animals that are blessed with those freaky rectangular pupils. Surprisingly, quite a few animals on this planet have round pupils.

Why do goats have rectangular pupils?

The latest research conducted and studies published presented various reasons behind these rectangular pupils.

  • Goats are herbivores so they are in a danger zone almost every minute of the day. The rectangular pupils give them a better vision that helps them in sensing the predator approaching.
  • It enhances the image quality of the environment.
  • It gives better control over the light that enters their eyes.

In short, the rectangular pupils are made to survive the predator attacks as when the animals have rectangular eyes the connection with the horizon never dies.

The lesser-known reason for the rectangular pupils

The lesser-known reason that you probably have never heard of is that the rectangular pupils assist the goat in better grazing. When the animals that rectangular pupils bend their head down to graze their pupils rotate by 50 degrees(which humans are incapable of) to give them a better sight of the grazing area while keeping a sharp eye on the predators.

So, it’s only for their safety

Before being domesticated, the goats lived in the wild with all other animals including their predators that were mostly dogs, and coyotes. So, the goats are blessed with these unique pupils solely for their safety.

All goat breeds have rectangular pupils

Goats have either blue or brown eyes and in rare cases, goats can have one blue and one brown eye as well. The eye colour can be different but their pupils are in the same shape. From unique to regular goats we have on our farms they all have rectangular pupils.(Resource)

Is there any reason other than the better vision?

No, probably not or maybe there is but it still has to be discovered. Until now, the scientists have only concluded that the goats have been blessed with those eyes because they need to keep an eye on predators to survive in this harsh environment.

Keeping the rectangular pupils aside, they can hear and smell better for the same reason

Goats are not just in a win-win situation for the rectangular pupils but their senses of smell and hearing are a hundred times better than the humans. The reason for all these strong senses is the same, to see, smell, and hear a predator approaching. So, even if they are unable to see that they are in the danger zone their other senses alert them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do goats have weird eyes?

Goats have weird eyes because they constantly live in the fear of being attacked by predators. The rectangular pupils no doubt make their eyes appear freaky but it gives them a better vision of the environment.

Are goats the only animals that have rectangular pupils?

No, a lot of us think that goats are probably the only animals that have rectangular pupils because we don’t actually pay attention to features like eyes. Octopus, sheep, and toads also have rectangular pupils.

Do mountain goats have rectangular pupils?

All goats, no matter how big or small they are, what their eye color is, or which breed they belong to,  have the same rectangular pupils.

Can goat’s pupils rotate?

Yes, goats can rotate their pupils. In fact, they are rotating their pupils all the time when they are up for grazing. Surprisingly, they are 10 times ahead of humans in rotating their pupils.


Unlike humans, Goats have weird rectangular pupils. As per the research conducted by scientists, the rectangular pupils assist them in sensing the predators’ arrival.

There could also be several reasons as well that are yet to be discovered but until now the scientists have only agreed to the point that it helps them in better grazing and sensing the predator approaching.

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