21 Comments

  1. Perhaps he can’t see down the middle presumably due to his large horn.
    That’s all I’ve got.

  2. That’s how I take it as well. But would it really block the whole middle of his visual field, from both eyes?

  3. Well, rhinos have very little visual overlap in the front (and generally poor vision), but trying to actually work out what would be blocked would very much overthink the joke.

  4. It isn’t illustrated that way, but rhinos have eyes more on the sides of their head than the front, which would make it hard to see the middle of the sign without moving his head … which, of course, he surely would.

    Or she. I don’t know that the rhino is male.

  5. Peripheral vision ONLY. Actually that makes sense. Looking at real photos, I see that they have no chance of stereo vision and could very well have the center impeded.

  6. At first I thought the rhino was having problems with vowels, but that was just a coincidence. However, given that he was able to see “T” & “Z” in the third line, I would have expected that he should have been able to see the “P” & “D” in the last line.

  7. I think the cartoonist’s kid asked him “How do rhinoceroses see around their horns?” and this was the result.

  8. Does anybody want to dredge up the original “Bedazzled” movie? There’s a similar joke about the character embodying the Vanity vice.

  9. While they’re not very easy prey, rhinos are prey animals, not hunters. Thus they have eyes on the sides of their head. This is (almost? completely?) universal in animals–even bird species: consider owls/hawks vs. robins (yes, robins eat worms, but they don’t have to hunt them per se).

  10. For what it’s worth, rhinos have terrible eye sight but excellent smell. Douglas Adams described this in his travel book “last chance to see” and spend a paragraph musing, that while a human might smell something strange and starts looking around for the source of the smell, a rhino might vaguely see something troubling and start sniffing for predators.

    Doesn’t help with the comic though, which does indeed seem to depict the horn as a visual obstruction.

  11. From that photo, maybe rhinos do have binocular vision. @carlfink, dogs certainly do. It’s critters like cows tht are totally non-binocular (“dual monocular”??).

  12. And even cows may be semi-binocular. It’s not a 100% rule. But total prey, like rabbits, seem to always have non-binocular vision, I’m led to believe. I are not an animalologist!

  13. Rhinoceros vision is a plot driver in some comic strips, most notably “Kevin & Kell”.

  14. There are endless variations. Scallops have up to dozens of eyes on the ends of tentacles, but they don’t have a brain. No coherent “image of the world” seems to form. Each tentacle’s ganglion does a very simple analysis of the input from that eye and can send and “Alert! Danger!” signal.

    Most spiders have two big eyes that can form images and may have binocular vision, and also 6 subsidiary eyes that provide protection from predators approaching from behind or the side.

  15. Your serious predators not only have front-facing field overlapping eyes, but vertical slit pupils – the classic cat’s-eye, maximizing sensitivity directly forward. Goats, on the other hand, have rectangular pupils that go horizontally, giving them a maximum view around the horizon, while sacrificing the overhead view (goats are rarely subject to aerial assaults). The muscles that control eyeball movement rotate the eye to maintain this horizontal orientation when goats raise and lower their heads from grazing – an organic artificial horizon.

  16. From a design standpoint, this all sounds like a lot more trouble than it would be to just have more than two eyes! Fascinating stuff.

  17. So canids aren’t serious predators? Komodo dragons? Lions?

    @phsiicidu: all the predators @Divad refers to (and which I list above) are bilaterians (bilaterally symmetrical animals). I doubt they meant to include enormously dangerous predators like the stinging jellies or sea stars. (Not all of them are dangerous to us, but then neither are reptiles like the king snakes, which are very effective predators and have slit pupils.)

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