Photo of the Day
“The Night Stalker”
Photo credit: Gorazd Golob
The eyes of the lion are larger than comparable-sized animals. Their round pupils seek out prey across the savannah. Lions hunt primarily in the early evening, dawn, or at night with eyes that are well adapted for use in low light. Lions (and all cats) have a high concentration of sensitive cells in the eye, called ‘rods’, which increase their ability to see in the dark by absorbing as much light as possible. A structured layer of tissue at the back of the eye, called the ‘tapetum lucidum’, reflects the light back onto the retina, utilizing whatever small amount of light available and giving cats (and other animals) increased night vision. The tapetum lucidum also gives animals the reflective “glow” that you see when you shine a light on them in the dark.
Even on dark nights with no moon, lions see well enough to hunt. When prey is sighted, the lions will sink down into cover and begin to stalk. Hiding among the tall grass, the lions will freeze and remain motionless when necessary. Visual cues are used to communicate with other pride members in the hunt, such as a small flick of the tail or a rustle in the grass. They then charge their prey, usually within a distance of ten meters, as they cannot run fast for long distances.
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