Take a watch around. Probably you can turn your head come the left and also right and move it up and down. You deserve to move her eyes about in a bunch of different directions, and perhaps friend can also cross them.

You are watching: Why do owls turn their heads all the way around

In the pet kingdom, there are lots of different kinds of eye that watch the world in various ways. Owls can’t move their eyeballs around in their eye sockets really well, but they do have pretty good night vision. They additionally have eye that space positioned on the front of your heads prefer a the majority of their other predators.

That’s what I discovered out indigenous my girlfriend Letty Reichart, that knows a lot about the examine of birds, or ornithology. She earned her Ph.D. In ~ Washington State University and now teaches biology in ~ the college of Nebraska Kearney.

While owls might not have the ability to move their eyeballs around like girlfriend can, they an ext than make up for this by turning their heads, which provides them a really an excellent view of your environment.

“It’s a distinctive adaptation because that owls to be able to do that,” Reichart said. “It’s part of their predatory lifestyle, but we actually know fairly little around it.”

In fact, a lot of predators through eyes that face forward have what we contact binocular vision. In the wild, owls usage their vision to look for pets like raccoons, squirrels, mice, and lizards the they have the right to eat for dinner.

Reichart said an owl’s bone framework is part of what helps with the head rotation. Owls have a component of their skeletal system, called a pivot joint, that helps offer them a broad variety of movement.

If humans turn your necks as well far, that activity can reason some major damage. That’s because turning the head too far can result in pinching off vessels that operation down the backbone. This vessels assist carry blood around the body, so once the vessels obtain pinched it can cause blood to protect against flowing through our body. But owls have necks that room a little different.

Not all the blood ship run v their bones. The vessels that execute run through bone have actually much an ext wiggle room. The opened a ship flows v is about ten times the dimension of the courage itself. Once owls revolve their heads, even though your necks are twisting, the bone is not most likely to fight those vessels and arteries. The way, they deserve to avoid significant injuries to their necks.

In turns out that some owls have the right to turn your heads in a half circle, around 180 degrees, to the left or the right. There’s one more critter the can likewise rotate it’s head in this way. The praying mantis is a predator and additionally uses a rotating head come look for prey in the environment.

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Meanwhile, part owls can actually rotate their heads 270 degrees to the left the the right. That’s an ext than double what a human deserve to do.