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Animal Eye Spy

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"... now why do I crave nuts and shiny things?"

"[Orell] can enter the minds of animals and see through their eyes."
Mance Rayder, Game of Thrones

This character doesn't just talk to animals and order them about; they can see through their eyes and experience the world through their senses. The range of this power goes from paranoia inducing to Superpower Lottery winner. On the low end, the character can see through one animal, usually a Familiar they are emotionally and spiritually tied to. On the high end, she can do this through more than one type of animal, or even several at once, making them close to The Omniscient. Depending on the level of control, she may be able to go beyond seeing through their eyes and create The Swarm out of local fauna.

Typically the animals are vermin or smaller, since their "small minds" are easier to control though bigger types aren't unheard of... but the tradeoff is they're harder to control. Depending on the type of bond, having one of these living listening devices killed may cause the character to faint from the feedback.

When the host is human or a sapient animal, this becomes Seeing Through Another's Eyes.

Compare Eye Spy. Contrast Surveillance Drone.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chainsaw Man: Makima can control small animals (amongst others) that she uses for surveillance. Kishibe lives in a place with no animals around so as to not be spied on.
  • Darker than Black:
    • Tanya, a Contractor in the second season has the power to summon clouds of insects and is shown to be able to use them for spying purposes. In one scene, she is able to listen and observe what's going on in another room by sending one of her bugs in there.
    • Mao gets a more in-depth version wherein he possesses the animal and can speak through it. Unfortunately, his human body got killed when he was out spying, so now he's trapped in the form of a cat.
  • Delicious in Dungeon:
    • Marcille creates a familiar in order to search for a griffin’s nest, controlling it with the motions of her body and seeing through its eyes. However, she’s seeing through the familiar’s eyes and her own eyes at the same time, so she has to blindfold herself in order to pilot it effectively.
    • The Mad Sorcerer is able to keep track of everything that goes on in his dungeon via “the eyes of the sorcerer”, tiny dragon-like constructs made of blood that share their sight with him. Marcille inherits the eyes when she replaces him as lord of the dungeon, but she’s disoriented by having about a dozen simultaneous fields of vision and turns off their feeds.
  • Fate/Zero: Fairly standard practice for familiars. Kiritsugu is unusual in that he prefers cameras since they can't be fooled by illusions while animal familiars still can be fooled.
  • In both GoLion and its adaptation, Voltron, the witch antagonist (Honerva in Golion; Haggar in Voltron) can see through the eyes of her demonic cat (Jaga in Golion/Cova in Voltron).
  • Hime-chan's Ribbon: Sei Arisaka can do this along with being The Beastmaster. For example, he can tell his cat to spy on somebody and be able to look through their eyes without being in direct control.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Flutter's Satellite Dragonflies allow him to see everything his conjured dragonflies do. This ability is later "borrowed" by Leol via Rental Pod, and Ikalgo while he's possessing his corpse.
    • Later on, there is another power called "Little Eye," which allows the user to see through and control the movements of small animals. Though it was created by and belongs to one of Prince Woble's guards, it, just like the Satellite Dragonflies, got borrowed (this time voluntarily) by Kurapika, who then transferred it to Woble's mother Queen Oito. She uses it to control a cockroach to spy on the other princes through the ventilation shafts, only to discover Prince Tserriednich's Nen Beast within them.
  • Naruto: Ino can use her clan's possession powers to do this.
  • One Piece: The Beast Pirates "Marys" are people with cybernetic implants that lets them see through the eyes of animals that are similarly implanted.
  • A story from Rumiko Takahashi's Rumic World series called "When My Eyes Got Wings" involved a sickly child who could see the world through the eyes of a little bird.
  • Soul Eater: The witch Arachne can see though the eyes of her spiders. Medusa is apparently able to do the same thing with her snakes (or anyone she's implanted with them).
  • Vampire Knight: Four characters in all use this; Kaname with bats, Shizuka as Maria with a crow, Maria with an owl, and Sara with spiders.
  • Roxana Agriche of The Way to Protect the Female Lead's Older Brother uses some of her butterflies in that manner.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America: The Falcon can do this with birds, with varying strength in doing so. Considering a bird's eye view, it could be pretty useful. It's also been mentioned that this gives him one of the best spy networks in the world, because who ever pays attention to whether there's a bird watching or listening to them?
  • In North 40, Luane lucked out with getting just this ability. More incredibly, she handles the godlike power with incredible humanity, enduring dozens of fainting spells to help stop the unsealing of the Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • The Flea in PS238 appears to have this power at least to some degree when it comes to insects. After being swiped by a teleporter, the other characters were able to reunite with him by talking to random cockroaches, which he described as "better than cell phones."
  • In Dreadstar, the blind telepath Willow can see through the eyes of her pet monkey.
  • In The Sandman (1989), Bast is able to see through the eyes of cats. In one arc where Hell is up for auction, she offers Dream information on his missing brother Destruction in exchange for Hell, but later on, she confesses that she was lying and that none of her people have seen him in fifty years, ever since his dog killed one of them.
  • In Seven Soldiers, Klarion is able to see through the eyes of his familiar Teekl, but has to cover up his own eyes to do so.
  • Runaways: Depending on the Writer, Klara has sometimes demonstrated the ability to "hear" through her roses, most notably in "Homeschooling", where she detected soldiers approaching the Malibu house because her plants told her that they were coming.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Ami, and other Keepers, can do this with animals, and people, that are their minions.
  • Half Past Adventure: Macy, the main character, learns the mass version of this while training under Huntress Wizard.
    She saw the clearing before her once again, but this time from all perspectives at once. She was the puma, the grass, a starling high in a tree, a crystal golem slumbering deep in the ground. Everything came together in a vast mosaic[…]
  • Taylor in Intrepid is capable of doing this, much like in her source material. The difference is, she's not limited to just insects.
  • I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?: After the adventurers start taming some of the minions she creates, Taylor discovers that she can still see and hear through the tamed minions. It's unclear if this is something all dungeons can do, or if it's some quirk of Taylor's unique situation.
  • A Man of Iron: Like Varys, the Night's Queen uses "little birds" to spy on people. Unlike him, this is entirely literal, as she kills birds then reanimates them to serve her. Since she's possessing the body of Sansa Stark, who in canon is a latent warg, it's possible that she's combining those abilities with her own power to create wights.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): Ursula uses her pet eels to spy on Ariel. Each have one magic eye that provides a stereo image back to a crystal ball in her lair.
  • Mulan: As seen in a Deleted Scene, Shan Yu was going to be capable of seeing through his falcon's eyes, but it was cut out both to save time and to avoid giving the villains too much focus.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Beastmaster: Dar is able to see through his animal companions' eyes. Useful for scouting/spying in general and in the middle of a fight when his own eyes are damaged at one point.
  • Eric Draven from The Crow has among his powers the ability to see through the eyes of the title bird.
  • The Skeksies of The Dark Crystal have bat like creatures that fly across the land and transmit visuals back to them through a piece of crystal embedded in their faces.
  • Snow White: A Tale of Terror: Claudia uses this trick to spy on Lilli in the forest.
  • Zoltan, Hound of Dracula: The Renfield Veidt is able to see through the eyes of the vampiric hound Zoltan.

  • American Gods: Bast can see through cats' eyes, as in Neil Gaiman's other most-famous work. She uses it to keep tabs on Shadow.
  • The Animist: This is essentially how Animist magic works; Animists each have a familiar they are bonded to for good, and they are able to use this ability to parse which useful spirits are in the area. The Animist is also able to full-on take over their familiar's mind if they need to — the interesting twist here is that whenever they do this, their familiar has taken over their mind too a la a Body Swap. This leads to things like the protagonist unintentionally appearing to make a complete ass of himself at a fancy dinner while switching places with his female rat familiar...
  • Another Faust: Victoria is given a swarm of moths and eventually... other insects that allow her to spy on people. Unfortunately for her, anyone can control them as long as they're in the right room...
  • The Arts of Dark and Light: The elves use this sort of magic as part of their intelligence service, along with more general beast-mastery and regular espionage. King Mhael can boast that wherever birds or lesser beasts are, there are his eyes and ears.
  • The Bad Place: Creepy twin sisters Violet and Verbina have this ability. They share a constant mind link with each other and the dozens of cats occupying their home. Craving wild and evocative sensation, they often drift outward to possess the bodies of hunting animals and their prey to feel both the thrill of the hunt and the pain of death. They cannot do this to humans however.
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Torak's spirit walker powers allow him to do this, though he vows to never use it to fly again after flying as a raven angered the spirits. It's also implied that this is why he can talk to wolves; he speculates that when he was a baby being Raised by Wolves, he spirit walked into one of the pups while it was learning to communicate with its mother and siblings.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: Beastwalkers can possess animals and then use them this way.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, this is part of Bug's superpowers — limited to bugs, though.
  • In Desperation by Stephen King, the body-snatching Eldritch Abomination Tak can enter and control animals, seeing through their eyes and feeling their thoughts, but only for short periods. Its presence inside living things causes them to wither and die and it has to hop from one to the other fairly quickly. Tak prefers humans because they last the longest.
  • Discworld:
    • This is one of the most useful applications of Borrowing (possession magic). A mouse can walk through cracks, an eagle can fly high and fast, and an owl can sit on your shoulder and let you read through its eyes. Crystal balls have image quality problems (especially if one is using cheap crystal or, say, an old green glass fishing float) and its efficiency drops with distance, and an Omniscope is hard to aim, so Borrowing has major advantages if the possessor is skilled enough. But if they're not skilled enough, the possessor runs a severe risk of having their mind almost inseparably entangled with that of the creature they're possessing. Also, the possessor had better make sure they aren't mistaken for dead while they're off gallivanting around in some animal's body.
    • In Carpe Jugulum Count de Magpyr uses his vampiric abilities to see though the eyes of hundreds of magpies.
    • The Rat King from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents can see through the eyes of animals, and not just rats. When Maurice feels their presence in his head, he closes his own eyes to hinder their attempts to locate him.
  • Garrett, P.I.: The Dead Man uses Mr. Big the parrot to shadow Garrett's investigations, seeing through the bird's eyes and speaking through its mouth. John Stretch the ratman can communicate with normal rats, and (both ratman and rat vision being limited) uses them as Animal Spy Noses.
  • Gentleman Bastard: In "The Lies of Locke Lamora", a mage can use their familiars to spy for them.
  • Harry Potter: Voldemort has this connection with the snake Nagini. When Harry starts having dreams where he sees what Voldemort sees, there are several where he is experiencing the scenes through the snake.
  • Heretical Edge: The theriangelos spell creates an animal that the caster can control and see through. This is one of the features of Sovereign, Aylen's cyberform hawk.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • Herald Eldan, seen most prominently in By the Sword, has animal telepathy as one of his abilities, which gives him a touch of this as well. Many Heralds with strong "sight" Gifts can See Through Their Companions' Eyes, though Companions are merely horse-shaped, not true horses.
    • Despite having no other form of Animal Mindspeech, Amily develops this ability between Bastion and Closer to Home and develops it over the course of the latter book. It proves far more useful than it seems at first glance when she becomes the King's Own Herald. Having familiarity with the animal in question improves her range and stamina, but she can develop this familiarity by way of another animal. To spy upon one half of a simmering feud, Amily gives a pet to the lord's daughter and "introduces herself" to the rest of the house animals through the little dog.
    • Tayledras, who form psychic bonds with one particular raptor, can transfer their entire consciousness to their bondbird for reconnaissance, in a method similar to Astral Projection.
  • In Tamora Pierce's The Immortals quartet, Daine talks to animals, sees through their eyes, and even had them sabotage an army for her.
  • From Isobelle Carmody's The Legendsong Saga, Glynn discovers that is able to do this with the He-fienna while it is hurt. She also uses the link to experience occasional dreams like this with both the He- and She-fienna.
  • E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman novel Gray Lensman. Kimball Kinnison makes mental contact with a spider and sees through its eyes as he uses it to turn off a Boskonian's thought-screen. He can do this with higher level animals as well.
  • Discussed in the Liavek story "The Green Cat". In this setting, its usefulness is limited because you perceive the world through the animal's senses and understanding, so you can't for instance use it to eavesdrop on a conversation because the animal will just hear incomprehensible noises. Also, the ability to see through an animal's eyes is separate from, and doesn't entail, being able to control where it goes and what it looks at.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: Bottle the squad mage was taught how to access all of the various Warrens (schools of magic), but his most important skill is his ability to control animals in his vicinity, something he insists is not actually a form of magic. This proves instrumental in keeping his squad alive while they're crossing hostile territory, as he can spread out over a large number of creatures at the same time if all he wants is their sensory input.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Tamers can see through the eyes of their animal familiars.
  • Discussed in the Realm of the Elderlings series. In the Six Duchies it is generally assumed that the Witted can see through animal eyes. That is not so. As Fitz and others point out, they cannot see through their bond animals' eyes, yet the idea that the Witted could be spying on them creeps many people out to such an extent that — combined with other superstitions — it's a direct cause of Burn the Witch!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Wargs or skinchangers do this, mostly with wolves, but other animals are possible. With training, they can learn to actually control the animal, but this trope is the first hint that you've got the potential. All of the Stark children are potential wargs, though Sansa never learned how due to her direwolf being killed, and only Bran and Arya have shown themselves to be able to use it on anything other than their direwolves. This can also be done to humans, though they don't like it and it’s considered a horrific taboo - when Varamyr tries to take over a human out of desperation, she gouges out her eyes and bites off her tongue in the fight for control of her body.
    • In the history of the setting, the infamous spymaster and Evil Chancellor Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers is implied to have been a secret skinchanger who used his powers to pry on people through the eyes of crows and rats. Reduced to an immobile husk literally rooted inside a cave in the main story, he continues the tendency. It's implied he's spying on the Night's Watch through Lord Commander Mormont's pet crow.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Historical Fantasy novel The Spirit Ring Abbot Monrealenote  is able to cast a spell which enables him to use doves for surveillance. He can't actually see directly through their eyes, or hear directly through their ears; instead, a mirror is ensorcelled to show what the birds are seeing, while an object like a small tambourine made of parchment serves to transmit what the birds are hearing. Unfortunately, the enemy sorcerer is able to detect the birds (or the spell which has been cast on them) and the bird spies have no more immunity to crossbow bolts than do ordinary un-magicked birds.
  • Sword of Truth: Slides have an ability to look through animals' eyes and hear with their ears when sending people's captured souls into them. Nicholas used this to always stay one step ahead of Richard until he figures it out.
  • Third Time Lucky and Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World: In "Mirror, Mirror on the Lam" it turns out Magdelene can see through the lizards' eyes who live near her house, so she saw Ciro leaving after he stole her mirror.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • In Towers of Midnight, Graendal does this to a dove in order to remotely see what her enemy Rand Al'Thor is up to.
    • In-universe, it's commonly believed that the Dark One can see through the eyes of carrion-eaters like crows and rats. This is explicitly revealed to not be the case- while the Shadow's forces can commandeer such creatures to act as spies, they have to report to a Myrddraal rather than having their own senses hijacked. Seeing through the eyes of such creatures, like Graendal does, is apparently a very advanced technique with the True Power that most of the Shadow's servants can't do.
  • The protagonist of Worm does this with insects and arthropods, and it includes hearing and touching. It is incredibly useful, as she can do it with every insect in her range simultaneously. Within a radius of approximately two blocks, she is effectively locally omniscient by spreading her swarm over surfaces and capes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). In "Sad Clown A-Go-Go", Ein is revealed to have been created by the same secret government experiment as Super-Soldier Mad Pierrot LaFou, who can interface with such dogs for this trope. In LaFou's case it drove him insane and gave him a fear of dogs, but he's still able to hack into Ein to find out who the BeBop crew are. Meanwhile our heroes are puzzled as to why Ein suddenly has Glowing Eyes, then freak out as the dog's eyes project a Huge Holographic Head of LaFou to demand Spike come and face him or he'll kill them all. Faye is more freaked out by the hologram projecting thing than anything else, but they leave Ein behind on the docks as a precaution.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • An early symptom of Bran's ability to warg is when he starts seeing through his direwolf's eyes in his dreams.
    • The wildlings make good use of wargs like Orell as scouts.
  • The Nevers: Augie can see through the eyes of corvids, describing his thrill about first experiencing it to Penance, with him seeing what it's like to fly.
  • The Outpost: Yavalla can see through the eyes of those she controls, not just humans and Blackbloods but even animals. She uses rats to infiltrate and spy on the outpost, and birds to spy on Talon and Zed as they track her through the woods.
  • The Sandman (2022), "Playing House": Lord Morpheus dispatches Matthew, a talking dream raven, to travel with Rose Walker in the waking world as his eyes and ears. It's not specified whether he can do the same with other dream entities; Matthew is effectively a Familiar, so it might be just him.
    Matthew: I can feel him in the back of my head... it's the weirdest feeling.
  • Twin Peaks: BOB can see what goes on in the woods through the eyes of owls, although it may be that he can transform into them. It's ambiguous.

    Mythology & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Magic-users/wizards could do this with their familiars and homunculi.
    • The binder vestige Malphas allows the user to conjure up a dove or raven, which they have full control over and can see through the eyes of.
    • There were a surprisingly large number of spells that allow to use other beings' senses, and not only the sight. Some work only on a limited group of creatures, such as the undead. Also, psionic powers.
      • The Forgotten Realms spell Spidereyes allowed the caster to see through the eyes of a spider.
      • By fourth edition the 'scry on familiar ability' has gone missing. Arcane users can see though the eyes of a owl familiar and several others allow you to determine line of sight from their point of view.
  • In Nomine: Cruthriel, a sample Kiryotate in the Liber Servitorum, prefers to inhabit large swarms of city-dwelling vermin such as rats, roaches, flies and pigeons, and has a particular passion for snooping. Since nobody pays much attention to these creatures even when they're not hiding beneath the floorboards or inside a wall, Cruthriel is able to spread his host bodies across entire cities to turn itself into a one-angel surveillance network, finding lost objects, spying on demonic plots and keeping a few eyes on unscrupulous mortals.
  • The Animalism discipline in Vampire: The Masquerade and Requiem allows kindred to do this with one animal.
  • DC Heroes: This is an available superpower called "Eye of the Cat".
  • In Shadowrun biodrones are vat-grown animals with concealed implants for remote control and usually surveillance. Unlike regular drones they look like ordinary animals.
  • Exalted: Lunars can do this with the "Sense-Borrowing Method" Charm. And inverts it with "Predator is Prey Mirror", where the Lunar causes their prey (possibly including humans) to see through their eyes, disorienting and terrifying them.
  • The Hero System Fantasy Hero Companion has several spells that grant this power.
    • The A Friendly Ride spell creates a mental link between the caster and an animal. It allows the caster to see from the animal's point of view.
    • The Beast Master spell allows the caster to see through the eyes of an animal that's up to a kilometer away.
    • The Eye of the Beast spell enables a mental link between the caster and an animal familiar which allows the caster to see through the animal's eyes and hear through its ears.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed Origins: Bayek can use his eagle Senu like in Far Cry: Primal and use it to highlight enemies and objects of interest. Connor's daughter Io:nhiòte has the same ability, which manifested when she needed to warn her father about a pack of wolves.
    • The same mechanic comes back for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, where the protagonist Alexios or Kassandra has an eagle named Ikaros.
  • Far Cry Primal: the protagonist can call upon an owl to scout ahead and highlight enemies and objects.
  • Paladins: Cassie's ultimate uses her pet hawk, Zigs, to fly about and highlight all enemies to her team for a few seconds.
  • One of the psychic powers Raz learns in Psychonauts is Clairvoyance, which lets him see through the eyes of not only people, but animals as well. Nils Lutefisk uses Clairvoyance to spy on the girls' cabin through a squirrel's eyes.
  • Warcraft III: The Night Elves have two different spells: Sentinel puts an owl in a tree to provide vision until the tree is cut down, while Owl Scout summons a temporary but unkillable owl that can see invisible units.
  • World of Warcraft: In Grizzly Hills, the local shaman tasks Horde players with binding her sight to eagles near the Alliance outpost in order to spy on them. In the quest's Alliance counterpart, you're forced to kill said eagles.

  • Master Seer possesses a cat in TwoKinds to spy on the main character, but Lady Nora uses her shapeshifting powers to distract it. He later possesses a horse. Its rider is suitably wielded out.
  • The protagonist of Cut Time is a blind girl with a "seeing eye falcon" and actually sees through its eyes.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Väinö, the sentinel mage guarding a border between a safe area and a Forbidden Zone, has the ability to do this with seagulls, and All There in the Manual shows that the other sentinel mages can do the same, but with different animals. This is both useful in supervising a large area and, since he as a mage is subject to Demonic Possession by a Kade, allows people to quickly detect if this happens. The seagulls acting un-seagull-like would be a dead giveaway.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Animal Eye Spies