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Cyclops Animals and Cyclopia.

Updated on September 4, 2017

Please note that pictures in this hub may be disturbing. I do not display any human examples on this page but they can be seen in links. Please do not click on these links if you will find pictures of extreme human deformity disturbing.

Cyclops animals are the result of mutations that are almost always lethal before or shortly after birth. One of the most common causes is a deformity called (after the mythical one-eyed creature) 'cyclopia' which occurs in most mammals including humans. This deformity is marked by a failure of the fore-brain and nasal area to develop. Cyclopia is thought to result from a range of toxins and environmental pollution; it can also be produced by Trisomy 13.

Cyclops animals are often born with normal twins showing the unpredictable nature of the defect.


Aquatic Animals

This shark fetus was discovered by a fisherman. It most likely would not have been able to survive outside of the womb. It is a dusky shark, caught of the coast of California.

After a lot of suspicion that the pictures might be photo-shopped, this specimen was scientifically confirmed to be real and thoroughly described a peer reviewed scientific report.

Cyclopia can be created in zebrafish by exposing them to ethanol.


Cyclopia in calves is produced by the same kinds of plants described in the section on lambs (below).


2005: This short-lived kitten suffered from holoprosencephaly, also known as cyclopia or synophthalmia. It was a rag-doll kitten that was born late in 2005, and the photographs circulated online early in 2006.

It was reported that the remains of this kitten ended up in a creationist display promoting the idea that mutations are always negative for health. [This story is confirmed by Snopes].

2006: Cyclops kitten

2016: Two separate examples from the United States.

See also:


In goats cyclopia is also sometimes described as 'monkey face'. Cases have been recorded with one or two normal lambs sharing the womb with cyclops lamb (example 1).



2010: The piglet shown right was born in China. Although reported as a cyclops this is technically a tri- or quad-clops. The piglet had two faces that diverge to produce two eyes close together in a single socket. A similar case was reported in 2007.

A 200case from Vietnam demonstrated a very extreme case of cyclopia with essential no facial features. It was referred to as 'the elephant pig'..

Classic cyclopia in pigs has been documented as long ago as 1742.

See also:


Cyclopia can be produced in lambs when the ewe eats Veratrum californicum (skunk cabbage) which contains a compound called Cyclopamine (a compound now used in the treatment of cancer). The disorder is probably best studied in this species with illustrations and scientific papers dating back several centuries:

17th century: etching "A Monster Born of a Ewe" (see below)

1964: Another example.

1920: This British specimen is very fully described, outlining the reasons that survival of cyclops animals is general not possible due to profound flaws in the systems of respiration and ingestion--and demonstrating that the single large eye is not functional, rendering the animal blind.

2005: Wisconsin lamb

See also, undated taxidermy example. And this second taxidermy example which looks a little dubious to me due to the lack of other anatomical abnormalities that normally accompany cyclopia.

Other undated examples: Blackface lamb, lamb fetus.


Other Species

Cyclopia has also been recorded in the

Most human cases seem to be genetic rather than caused by toxins.

Curiosities and Hoaxes

A creature described as a troll was reputed killed in a Mexican town in 2010. However, based on the pictures is looks like cyclopia in a lamb or goat--and not a creature that would have been wandering around alive at night.

It has been suggested that myths of cyclops might derive from skulls of pygmy elephants where the sinus can create the illusion of a single central eye socket.


  • Bejarano-Álvarez, O. M., & Galván-Magaña, F. (2013). First report of an embryonic dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) with cyclopia and other abnormalities. Marine Biodiversity Records, 6, e11.
  • Kalantzis, G. C., Tsiamis, C. B., & Poulakou-Rebelakou, E. L. (2013). Cyclopia: from Greek antiquity to medical genetics. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 118(3), 256-262.
  • Lee, S. T., Welch, K. D., Panter, K. E., Gardner, D. R., Garrossian, M., & Chang, C. W. T. (2014). Cyclopamine: From Cyclops Lambs to Cancer Treatment. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry.
  • Malik, A. A., Sheikh, G. G., Lone, F. A., Islam, R., & Khatun, A. (2013). Delivery of Cyclopia Monster Fetus from a Crossbred Heifer Suffering from Dystocia. Journal of Advanced Veterinary Research, 3(4), 167-168.
  • Malik, A. A., Sheikh, G. G., Lone, F. A., Islam, R., & Khatun, A. (2013). Delivery of Cyclopia Monster Fetus from a Crossbred Heifer Suffering from Dystocia. Journal of Advanced Veterinary Research, 3(4), 167-168.


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    • profile image

      Reb 3 years ago

      I have always been interested in cyclopea in animals. This is very interesting, although I still can't believe that I'm in 7'th grade, and we haven't been learning anything about deformities.

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      Isaac 4 years ago

      I used this for my project and I am in 7 th. grade and this helped a lot

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      siska 5 years ago

      anyone can provide me with some links about cyclops because i have a research about them :/

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 5 years ago from Washington state

      What a fascinating, freaky article!

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      snow 5 years ago

      gid thats creepy but REALLY interesting i have the ripleys believe it or not book 2011 and saw the kitten and got curious

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      Kapree 6 years ago

      Wooow this is really interesting

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      Nichole 6 years ago

      It's not a mutation exactly. It's a caused by a teratogen during a critical period in that organ's development. Cyclopia in sheep are most likely caused by the mothers ingestion of the Veratrum plant on the 14th day of gestation.

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      the cyclops 7 years ago

      these animals are increible

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 7 years ago

      oh poor animals...obviously a mutation...