Eye spy: Critters with mismatched peepers

Having eyes with different hues is as uncommon as it is stunning. The science term for this phenomenon is heterochromia iridis and it comes in two varieties: complete heterochromia, in which each eye is a different color, and sectional heterochromia, in which parts of the same eye are different colors. Heterochromia can be genetic but it can also occur later in life due to illness or injury. The more common, and easier to pronounce, terms for having different colored eyes are odd-eyed and bi-eyed. Having two completely different colored eyes is more frequently seen in animals, like dogs, cats, and horses, but does occur in humans, just ask actresses Mila Kunis and Kate Bosworth.

Check out our gallery of bi-eyed critters below.

Having odd-eyes is relatively common in Siberian Huskies. Image via WikiMedia

Border collies like Nenya are more likely than many other breeds to have different colored eyes, as the same genes that color her coat can cause one eye to be blue. Other odd-eye prone breeds with multi-colored coats include the Welsh Corgi and Australian Shepherd. Image by fw42

Isabella the Boston terrier has a rather odd odd-eye. Having different colored eyes doesn’t affect vision in any way. Image by Tricia Banks

Having different colored eyes is more common in lighter colored animals, like Jack the pit bull terrier above. The genes that make an animal’s coat white and eye (or eyes) blue will also often turn noses and skin pink. Image by Tessa de Jongh

If you’re going to have two different colored eyes, chances are you’re a white cat. Odd-eye color is more common in white cats and has also been long prized and selected for by breeders. In fact, the government of Turkey today maintains a breeding program first put in place in 1817 to protect and preserve white Turkish Angora cats with blue and amber eyes (not unlike June’s eyes above). Image by Keith Kissel

This white kitten named Lily has an uncommon combo: one light green and one violet-blue eye. Image by Jason Farmer

You don’t have to be a dog or a cat to have odd eyes. This arctic fox at Wildpark Bad Mergentheim in Germany has a stunning set of odd peepers and quite the sense of humor. Images by Cloudtail

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