What colour are Lions eyes?

Question: What colour are Lions eyes?

Adult lions’ eyes are an orangey brown, almost golden color.

Lion Cubs are born with blue eyes. When they are born, lion cubs are blind and from a few weeks old to 2-3 months they have blue eyes until they ultimately change into the golden color of adulthood.

The eyes of the lion are simultaneously a beautiful but terrifying sight. One that many hope to never see up close and personal but are in awe of when they see pictures in magazines or online.

Let’s learn more about Lions eyes

There are many questions that arise from just one prompt.

  • What is so special about lions’ eyes?
  • Are there any special aspects to the design and shape?
  • What type of eyesight do they have?

Let’s try and answer these questions, as we learn more about Lions eyes.

Lions Eye structure

Lions and other big cats’ eye structures help make them apex predators. Lions specifically have eyes that are three times as large as a human’s.

Physical characteristics of Lions eyes which help them see in the dark

There is also another physical characteristic that help a lion’s eyesight that is commonly overlooked.

Lions have a stripe, or patch of white fur directly below their eyes that help maximize the amount of light that the lion’s eyes can process and absorb. The fact that these strips are white is an indicator that the animal is nocturnal. Other big cats who have developed such characteristics, but are active during the day, have black stripes to decrease glare and increase their line of sight.

During the day lions and humans have comparable eyesight, but at night the lion can see up to eight times better than a human.

Lions are not able to see in complete darkness but due to how many cones and rods the lions have within their eyes, their eyes are able to pick up more illumination from fainter light sources such as the moon and stars.

Tapetum lucidum

Lions also possess a reflective layer within their eyes that allow them to better pick up on light sources. This reflective layer, also known as Tapetum lucidum, is what cause lions’ eyes to seemingly glow at night.

The glow is just light reflecting from their eyes giving them the upper hand against animals whose eyes are not capable to utilize such little light sources.

Don’t get too close!

Thinking about seeing those glowing eyes just outside of your flashlight or lantern’s range is enough to make anyone’s heart drop and begin a primal panic.

But, what is one to do in such a situation? Lions are huge apex predators, but if they encounter another animal that seems bigger, louder, and standing their ground many lions would not see the point of facing down with such an animal.

That is why experts and safari tour guides alike give the advice that if one is close enough to see into and appreciate the beauty of a lion’s eyes one should:

  • make themselves seem larger than they are
  • make a lot of noise
  • stand their ground
  • never turn your back or run away from the lion.

That gives a human the best chances of survival, while those who run are seen by the lions as slow prey to be easily taken down!

Range of vision

Big cats have a larger range for their field of vision compared to humans.

But, for lions, their eyes have a hard time moving back and forth, so in order to react to something they hear or can see they have to move their whole head.

That is one fact about the lion’s eyes that seem to be seen as a negative, but they more than make up for that setback with their increased vision at night and wide field of vision.


So now you know what colour are lions eyes for both adult lions and cubs.

It is said for humans that “the eyes are the windows into the soul” but when looking at a human eye compared to a lions’ one can think, “human eyes are the foggy and subpar windows into the soul.”

There is a reason why lions are major apex predators of the wild and referred to as the “King of the Cats”. Lions’ eyesight contributes to their continued top tier place in the animal kingdom.

Frequently Asked Questions

People who ask ‘What colour are Lions eyes?‘ also ask;

Do lions have yellow eyes?

Yes. Adult lions have orangey-brown almost golden eyes.

What color eyes do white lions have?

White lions are not albinos, they have the same eye color variants as other lions.

Is a lion color blind?

No, Lions, like your domesticated cat, cannot distinguish red colors in their surroundings. They can see other colors though.

Should you look a lion in the eyes?

If you are close enough to see a lion’s eyes, and they are charging, experts say the best thing is to stand your ground. Never turn your back or run, those actions might spur on an attack.

What Big Cat has the best eyesight?

Cheetahs. It is believed that with their 210 degree field of vision have the best eyesight of the big cats.

Do lion cubs have blue eyes?

Yes. Lion cubs are born blind and with blue eyes until they are around 2 or 3 months, then their eyes change to the signature golden color.

Do lions eyes change color?

Yes. Lions’ eyes only change color when they are young cubs. Their eyes do not change once they hit adulthood.

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