You may have noticed that some animals have an intense shine in their eyes, even when it is dark. Cats are great examples of this characteristic, but not only do they have this condition.
Other cats, several mammals and some reptiles also have their eyes luminous in the darkness and all this thanks to the adaptation of the organism, considering that these animals have nocturnal habits.
After all, why do their eyes shine in the darkness?
Contrary to what one might think, animals do not have bright eyes, but they do have conditions for this to occur in the dark. What actually happens is a reflection of the light that enters the eyes of animals. The function of the mirror is one of the properties that some substances present in the eyes of these animals have.
These parts constitute what we scientifically call tapetum lucidum , or lucid carpet. According to a report by Revista Galileu, the rug is responsible for reflecting light to the photoreceptor layer. When animals are in the dark, it is natural for pupils to expand so that they can assimilate as much light as possible to see. For this same reason, the tapetum ends up being exposed, since it is located behind the retina.
Thus, when a beam of light, however small, hits the animal’s eye, the lucid carpet reflects, giving the impression that the eye shines.
What is the function of this reflection?
It is clear that the reflection caused by tapetum lucidum in the eyes of animals is a characteristic that exists for a specific reason, it is not something that came out of nowhere. It is an adaptation in animals that have nocturnal habits. This condition allows their vision to be even more accurate and they can see their prey even in the dark. For example, in the case of cats, they can see seven times better than the human eye in the dark, all thanks to reflection.