What Is the Answer to the Riddle, “What Has Eyes But Cannot See?”

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Living creatures have eyes, usually two, but sometimes more, that help them see and process visual information. Some things have eyes but cannot see. Potatoes, needles and some types of storms are all things that have eyes but can’t see.

A Potato

Potatoes are covered in small “eyes” that aren’t really eyes at all. Instead, they are buds. Under certain conditions, the eyes will wake up and produce sprouts. Sunlight, warm temperatures and a lack of airflow can all cause a potato to sprout. 

In some cases, sprouting potatoes is a good thing. You can place the potato and its sprout in the ground and get a new plant—and a new crop of potatoes—from it. If you’re planning on eating the potato, you don’t want the eyes to sprout. Potato sprouts are poisonous, according to Medline Plus, and shouldn’t be eaten. Once a potato’s eyes start producing sprouts, the quality of the potato declines. Eventually, a very sprouted potato will wither and rot.

A Needle

Sewing needles also have eyes that cannot see. Sewing needles are long and slender implements that typically have a pointed tip at one end and an eye, or small opening at the other. Needles designed for hand-sewing or embroidery have eyes at the opposite end, while sewing machine needs have eyes at the pointed end.


While the eye of a needle is usually very small, there is actually some variation in sizing. For example, tapestry needles tend to have larger eyes than other types. The eyes of tapestry needles are big enough to let a six-strand piece of embroidery floss or a thick piece of wool thread through. Chenille needles and long darner needles also have larger eyes than other types.

A Hurricane

The eye of a hurricane is located directly in the middle of the storm. Usually, the development of an eye at the center of a hurricane is a sign that the storm is gaining strength.


According to University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the eye of a storm is usually between 20 and 40 miles in diameter. Although the part of the storm that precedes the eye and the part of the storm that follows it usually has strong winds and rain, the area inside of the eye is usually calm. Every eye of a hurricane is surrounded by something called the eyewall. While the eye itself is calm, the eyewall tends to contain the harshest winds and weather of the storm.

A Tornado

Tornadoes also have eyes, but they are slightly different from the eyes of hurricanes. Usually, only single vortex tornadoes have eyes. Like the eyes of hurricanes, the eyes of tornadoes are located near the center of the vortex. Although the winds at the eye of a hurricane are calm, the winds in the eye of a tornado are moving at the same speed as the tornado.


Another difference between a tornado’s eye and a hurricane’s eye is that few have seen the eye of a tornado and lived to tell about it. 

What Are Riddles?

Riddles like “What has eyes but cannot see?” are brain teasers that are designed to get you thinking creatively. Often, the way a riddle is phrased can make it seem like it is asking a nonsensical question. In other cases, the answer to a riddle might depend on you making a connection between two seemingly unrelated words.


Other Examples of Riddles

A few examples of riddles that are similar to “What has eyes but cannot see” are:

  • “What has ears but cannot hear?” (Corn)
  • “What is black and white and red/read all over?” (A newspaper)
  • “What can be opened but not closed?” (An egg)