Goat Eyes

The goaties are adorable. They’re fuzzy, short, round, and friendly. Visitors always want to say hello.


But, when guests get close up, I often hear, I didn’t know they looked like that!

They’re referring to the goats’ eyes. The pupils are rectangular.

rectangular eye

Other animals have rectangular pupils, too, but what makes a goat’s eye so startling is that the iris is a pale color (Caper’s is tawny brown, but some goats have blue eyes) so that the inky dark rectangle stands out.

This shape has a purpose. It allows for excellent peripheral depth perception – exactly what a hoofed prey animal needs to watch out for predators and make a quick escape. The goats can see about 320 to 340 degrees around them. Unlike horses, they don’t have a blind spot in the front. They have good night vision, too. My goats can see so well that when standing in the corner in their paddock they can spy me, through the screened porch, and then through the kitchen window, to where I’m working at the sink. They like knowing where I am.

There are other animals that also have rectangular pupils, like toads and octopi,


photo from howstuffworks.com

which are creatures that I like very much. However, these are the ones that I am ever so happy to have greet me in the barn.



  1. And aren’t they good at looking so sweet and innocent whenever a camera is pointed in their direction….

    • You have that right. Caper, who knows how to unlatch stall doors, will stop what he’s doing and look innocent if he thinks that I’m watching.

  2. One of my favorite things about goats, their rectangular pupils, I think I shared that in a previous post with you. However, right now, I wish I had their winter coat. They are just adorable Terry. Thank you for sharing the photos!

  3. I think they are as cute as buttons! and has an owner of sheep and horses I love the eyes. In fact I have always fancied doing a pastel portrait of a goats head with close up of the eye and your blog pic has inspired ne to try and get hold of a decent photo to work from.

  4. oh my gosh i love goats!!! so cute so what that they have rectangular pupils they are the cutest things ever!!

  5. Terry, I’ve always noticed the rectangular pupils on goats and wondered why. Now I know, thanks.

  6. I too never knew why about their pupils. Thanks they are adorable

  7. I just love your darling goaties. They have beautiful colors and markings. They have excellent hearing too.

  8. Naturally visitors want to see the goats. We are naturally lovable. :) I see your boys have stumps for philosophizing. Well done!

  9. I loved your lecture at NOFA and really learned a lot more about chickens. You had us all laughing at the chicken antics! I find in my flower garden the only place my two hens like to dust bath is by the dry, dusty foundation which fortunately is usually hidden by perennials in the growing season. But I don’t see any pictures of your beautiful gardens on your website. Can you post those too? Need some fresh inspiration to get through these brutally cold days! Hope you come back next year!

  10. why have my goats pupils changed shape they have gone fully round like a human can any 1 tell me what’s wrong ??