Many years ago I read that buffalo hunters would drink the liquid out of buffalo's eyes to gross out the greenhorns and tenderfeet (people new to the West). Attached to this anecdote was a claim that all ocular fluid is potable water. Is this true?

While I don't think the source specifically stated this I believe they were talking about the Aqueous humour in apparently healthy mammals. That is the subset of animals that I'm most interested in but I'd also be interested in learning if this is generally applicable to any animal with big enough eyes.

1 Answer 1


According to Wikipedia the Aqueous humour is composed of,

Amino acids: transported by ciliary muscles

98% water


Ascorbic acid



So it is probably true.

I did find a report that said that cows that die of nitrate poisoning will have elevated levels of nitrate in the fluid.

I also found a song about eating buffalo eyes in the Nebraska historical record.

People will still eat animal eyeballs (gross pictures) today.

  • I didn't know if that article was just about human eyes or all eyes in general. That is a great find with the song by the way!
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 17:31
  • This really doesn't answer the question. Bacteria and toxins can account for 0.01% or less and still be enough to be a lot of trouble. Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 7:27

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