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How do animals see? What colors are different?

The eyes are a special organ that all living beings on the planet are endowed with. We know in what colors we see the world, but how do animals see it? What colors do cats see and what do not? Black-and-white eyesight in dogs? Knowledge of the vision of animals will help us to look more closely at the world around us and understand the behavior of our pets.

Features of vision

And yet, how do animals see? On individual indicators, animals have better vision than humans, but it is inferior in the ability to distinguish between colors. Most animals see only in a certain palette for their kind. For example, for a long time it was believed that dogs only see in black and white. And snakes are generally blind. But recent research has shown that animals see different wavelengths, unlike humans.

We, thanks to our sight, receive more than 90% of information about the world that surrounds us. Eyes for us - the predominant sense organ. It is interesting that the eyesight of animals in its severity is much higher than the human. It's no secret that birds of prey see 10 times better. Eagle can detect prey in flight from a distance of several hundred meters, and Peregrine trail pigeon from a height of a kilometer.

The difference is also that most animals can perfectly see in the dark. The retina photoreceptor cells of their eyes focus light, and this allows animals that lead a nocturnal life to capture light streams into several photons. And the fact that the eyes of many animals glow in the dark, is explained by the fact that under the retina there is a unique reflective layer called tapetum. And now let's look at some species of animals.


The gracefulness of a horse and its expressive eyes can hardly leave anyone indifferent. But often those who learn to ride, say that approaching the horse from behind is dangerous. But why? How do animals see what happens behind their backs? No way - the horse behind him has a blind zone, and so she can easily get scared and buck.

The eyes of the horse are arranged so that it is able to see in two angles. Her vision is divided in two - each eye sees its picture, because the eyes are located on the sides of the head. But if the horse looks along the nose, then she sees one image. Also this animal has peripheral vision and is excellent at twilight.

Let's add a bit of anatomy. In the retina of any living creature there are receptors of two kinds: cones and rods. The number of cones depends on the color vision, and the rods are responsible for the peripheral. In horses, the number of sticks predominates over what is found in humans, but the cone-receptors are comparable. This suggests that horses also have color vision.


Many houses hold animals, and the most common, of course, cats. The sight of animals, and especially the family of felines, differs significantly from the human. The pupil of the cat is not round, as in most animals, but elongated. He acutely reacts to a large amount of bright light by narrowing to a small slit. This indicator says that in the retina of the eye of animals there is a large number of receptor sticks, due to which they can perfectly see in the dark.

And what about color vision? What colors do cats see? Until recently, it was believed that cats see in black and white. But studies have shown that the cat family distinguishes between gray, green and blue colors. In addition, he sees many shades of gray - up to 25 tones.


The sight of dogs is different from what we are used to. If we return to anatomy again, then in the human eye there are three kinds of cone-receptors:

  • The first perceives long-wave radiation, which is distinguished by orange and red colors.
  • The second is medium wave. It is on these waves that we see yellow and green.
  • The third, respectively, perceives short waves, on which blue and violet are distinguishable.

The eyes of animals are distinguished by the presence of two kinds of cones, so dogs do not see orange and red colors.

This difference is not the only thing - long-sighted dogs and see the best moving objects. The distance from which they see a motionless object, amounts to 600 meters, but the moving object of the dog is noticed already from 900 meters. It is for this reason that it is best not to flee from the four-armed guards.

Vision is almost not the main organ in the dog, for the most part they go for smell and hearing.

And now let's sum up - what colors do dogs see? In this they are like human colorblinds, they see blue and violet, yellow and green, but the mixture of colors may seem to them just white. But best of all dogs, like cats, distinguish gray colors, and up to 40 shades.


Many people believe, and they often teach us that the home-footed cloven-hoofs react sharply to the red color. In fact, the eyes of these animals perceive the color palette in very fuzzy fuzzy tones. Therefore bulls and cows most react to movement, than on how your clothes are painted or what color they wave before their muzzle. I wonder who will like it if they start waving a rag in front of his nose, sticking, in the bargain, into the scruff of a spear?

And yet, how do animals see? Cows, judging by the structure of their eyes, are able to distinguish all colors: white and black, yellow and green, red and orange. But only weakly and blurry. It is interesting that the cows' eyesight is like a magnifying glass, and for this reason they are often frightened when they see people approaching them unexpectedly.

Night Animals

Many animals that lead a nocturnal life have big eyes. For example, tarsier. It's a little monkey that goes hunting at night. Its size does not exceed the squirrel, but it is the only primacy in the world, feeding on insects and lizards.

The eyes of this animal are huge and do not rotate in the eye sockets. But at the same time the tarsier is very flexible neck allowing him to rotate his head for all 180 degrees. He also has an unusual peripheral vision, allowing to see even ultraviolet radiation. But the color distinguishes tenpents very weakly, like all nocturnal animals.

I want to say about the most common inhabitants of cities at night - bats. For a long time it was assumed that they do not use sight, but fly only due to echolocation. But recent studies have shown that they have excellent night vision, and moreover - bats are able to choose whether to fly them to the sound or turn night vision.


Telling how animals see, you can not keep silent about how the snakes see. A fairy tale about Mowgli, where the boa constrictor fascinates monkeys, arouses awe. But is it true? Let's figure it out.

Snakes have very poor eyesight, this is affected by the protective shell covering the eye of the reptile. From this, the named organs appear muddy and take that horrendous look about which legends form. But sight for snakes is not the main thing, basically, they attack moving objects. Therefore in the fairy tale it is said that the monkeys sat in a daze - they instinctively knew how to save themselves.

Not all snakes have unique thermal sensors, but still they distinguish infrared radiation and colors. The snake has binocular vision, which means that it sees two pictures. And the brain, quickly processing the information received, gives her an idea of the size, distance and outlines of a potential victim.


Birds are struck by a variety of species. It is interesting that the sight in this category of living beings is also very different. It all depends on what kind of life the bird leads.

So, everyone knows that predators have extremely sharp eyesight. Some species of eagles can notice their prey from a height of more than a kilometer and fall down with a stone to catch it. And do you know that some species of birds of prey are able to see the ultraviolet, which allows them to find the next mink of field mice in the dark ?

A magnificent owl can not move its eyes, but it is endowed with a very flexible neck, which allows it to turn its head 180 degrees. Parasitically, this predator does not see well in the dark and usually catches prey, guided by hearing.

And the wavy parrot at home has a magnificent vision and is able to see everything in color. Studies have shown that these individuals distinguish each other by bright plumage.

Of course, this topic is very broad, but we hope that the above facts will help you to understand how animals see it.

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