Conservancy Communications
In the News
Press Inquiries
Press Releases
Conservancy Times
Monthly News from
the Conservancy!

Enter Your Email Address:



Rattlesnakes don’t have eyelids.

It’s true. Snakes don’t have what we think of as eyelids. Instead they have something called a brille attached to each eye. The brille is also known as  ocular scale, eye cap or spectacle. It’s a layer of transparent, immovable, disc-shaped skin or scale covering each eye. Brille is German and Norwegian for “glasses.”

The eyelid brille is usually clear and cannot be distinguished except when the animal is becoming ready to molt. At that time, it becomes cloudy and is visible as a cover over the eye. When the snake molts, the brille is also shed as part of its skin. The Brille protects the snake’s eyes from dust and dirt and gives them a "glassy-eyed" appearance.

*     *     *

Bonus Reminder II: One case of fiction surrounding Catalina's rattlesnakes that Island Naturalist has debunked in the past -- and which is well worth repeating -- is that pigs were brought to Catalina to reduce the rattlesnake population by eating rattler eggs.

The fact is rattlesnakes on Catalina don't lay eggs. Their young are born live, so there aren't -- and never were -- any rattlesnake eggs for the pigs to eat. For a deeper take on this misconception, click on Issue #6 to the right, then on the "Fact or Fiction" box.

Did You Know… Rattlesnakes possess a sophisticated thermal imaging system.


Issue #12 / All About Snakes


A Guide’s Guide to Catalina’s Snakes
More Catalina Snake Facts
Fact or Fiction: Rattlers Don’t Have Eyelids
Did You Know … Rattlers’ System Thermal

Photo by Jack Baldelli

This Catalina Island rattlesnake was caught by the lens in a coiled position in a depression in the earth, away from vegetation. The brille in this dusty, dirty habitat help protect the snakes' eyes.

Missed recent issues?
Issue #1 / All About Bison

Issue #2 / All About Birds

Issue #3 / All About Plants
Issue #4 / All About Eagles
Issue #5 / All About Ravens & Crows
Issue #6 / All About Natives & Invasives  
Issue #7 / All About Rain
Issue #8 / All About Bison Roundup
Issue #9 / All About Foxes
Issue #10 / All About Weeds
Issue #11 / All About Eagle Hatchlings



708 Crescent Ave., Avalon 90704 | Phone: (310) 510-2595 | 320 Golden Shore, Suite 220, Long Beach, CA 90802 | Phone: (562) 437-8555
Copyright © 2022 Catalina Island Conservancy. All rights reserved.