Why do the eyes of alligators glow bright red in the dark (like devils)?

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Why do alligator eyes glow red in the dark, alligator eyes glow red at night, alligator eyes red night
Why do alligator eyes glow red in the dark? Picture by Larry Lynch via nhm.ac.uk

Look at these amazing pictures of alligators at night. Their eyes glow bright red.

Although you may think the images have been photoshoped, you are wrong!

Why do alligator eyes glow red in the dark, alligator eyes glow red at night, alligator eyes red night
Alligator eyes shining in a Florida River, Myakka River State Park. Picture via Facebook

Here’s why alligators’ eyes are glowing bright red in the dark:

Like cats, an alligator has a tapetum lucidum at the back of each eye.

This structure reflects light back into the photoreceptor cells to make the most of low light.

Why do alligator eyes glow red in the dark, alligator eyes glow red at night, alligator eyes red night
This alligator is not the devil and has not been photoshopped. Picture via Facebook

The colour of eyeshine differs from species to species.

In alligators, it glows red… And that’s a really good way to locate alligators on a dark night.

And I bet this is what they are currently doing in Mexico after Eta… Looking for crocodiles’ eyes around.

More strange natural phenomena on nhm UK, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Wait, does this depend on what kind of light is shined on them? Because older flashlights didn’t do this as well – I don’t ever recall seeing this until now, and it seems strange to me. Maybe LED lights are so strong they cause this type of reaction. Seriously, that red glow was so strong that it caused a very clear reflection on the surface of the water – incredible.

  2. I knew a guy that had a pet alligator in his basement. It was a young one. That was a long time ago. It’s probably not legal in the city.

    The red eye thing is weird. There’s alot of meat on them though. Looks like they’re plenty around out there too. Be fun to hunt them at night. All you need is one big fat one, and invite all your friends over.

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