Can Crocodile See At Night? 7 Facts You Should Know


Can Crocodile See At Night? 7 Facts You Should Know

Crocodiles have evolved since ancient times to accommodate the changes on the planet. From their ability to walk on land to their vision, crocodilians have some amazing features. 

Crocs can see at night. Crocs have evolved their eyes along with other physical traits. Additionally, to human eyes, they are quite similar in size and function. Much though crocodilians’ eyesight is not as acute as that of humans, it is still very good and gets even better at night.

In fact, because of their multi-focal lenses, crocs can discern a variety of colors, hues, and shapes. It is important to keep in mind that crocodiles are a primitive reptile species that have developed over eons by hunting in the darkness. So it should be no surprise that these creatures will have excellent night vision. A crocodile can focus on a certain object to see its primary shape, whether it is day or night.

So, let us delve deep into the matter and unearth the facts behind crocs’ ability to see at night.

Do crocodiles have a good vision?

There is no universal definition of “good vision.” Yet, comparing the vision of different animals give us an idea about an ideal vision.

Crocodiles have subpar vision when compared to human eyesight (overall). However, their horizontal receptor foveal is conspicuous. Because of this trait, crocodiles have extremely sharp vision. According to recent studies, the eyes of crocodiles are specifically adapted for lurking at the water’s surface.

Crocodiles can also switch between their short- and long-sighted vision depending on the situation. This indicates that these reptiles can hunt far away or close to their prey. Therefore, while having less visual clarity than humans, crocodiles are better able to focus on prey and hunt successfully.

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Do alligators have night vision?

It is worth exploring if alligators also have night vision just like crocs. 

Alligators have night vision much as crocodiles do. The large eyeballs on the crowns of alligators’ heads make it simple for them to see in the dark. Keep in mind that alligators, like crocodiles, are nocturnal creatures that hunt prey in the dark; as a result, their vision has evolved to suit their way of life.

Both crocodiles and alligators, like cats, have the ability to split their pupils in the dark, which improves their ability to see even when there is no light at all. Alligators have a fovea, which significantly improves their night vision compared to that of humans.

How do crocs and alligators see in darkness?

Image Credit: Crocodile Eye (CC0 1.0)

After learning that crocs and alligators have night vision, the next question is how?

Both crocs and alligators have tapetum lucidum on the rear walls of their eyes. The tapetum lucidum is a reflector system that reflects incoming light onto the retina, which results in an enhanced vision even in total darkness. 

Not only do these reptiles see in the darkness above the surface of the water but also under water. Thanks to the presence of a nictitating membrane, which covers the eye underwater while keeping the eyelid open. This membrane protects the eyes underwater while allowing some light to pass through it and offer underwater vision.  

Do crocodile eyes shine at night?

You may have encountered their glowing eyes at home at night if you have pet cats at home.

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At night, crocodile eyes sparkle or glimmer. The tapetum lucidum in the eyes of these large reptiles causes their eyes to appear to glow red in the dark. The tapetum lucidum acts like a neon light bulb, reflecting light into the photoreceptor cells in the eyes of crocodiles.  

Alligator eyes vs crocodile eyes

At a short glance, a crocodile and an alligator may look similar. But if we look closely, we can see several physical differences between them. But what about their eyes? 

As far as their eyes are concerned, crocodiles and alligators are identical. Both individuals share eyes on the top of their heads, among other physical similarities. These two creatures can see underwater and have excellent night vision. In addition, the tapetum lucidum causes their eyes to glow in the dark.

They both have the following characteristics in their eyes, among others:

  • Similar vertical pupils
  • Wide eye opening
  • Their pupils split in the darkness 
  • Both have three eyelids

How far do crocodiles see at night?

Crocs can see far and wide.They can survey the horizon without shifting their eyes and have a panoramic vision. First, their eyes are situated atop their head, which offers them the advantage of having a wide field of view. Second, the fovea streak—a horizontal line of distinct receptors—is a characteristic of crocodile eyes.

Are crocodiles attracted to lights at night?

No science or theory confirms if crocs or alligators are attracted to light at night. Yet, it is often claimed that these creatures can get attracted to underwater light.

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Additionally, crocs and alligators are nocturnal animals that hunt after the sunset. So, even if we are unsure if they are lured to light at night, it is recommended not to swim between dusk and dawn in crocodile or alligator-infested water. 


It is a fact that crocodiles can see at night, and have night vision. The eyes of these reptiles are an amazing work of nature. They are highly adapted to the surroundings in which crocodiles live and hunt. Although their overall vision is not at par with humans, other eye features are far superior in crocs. 

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