90 interesting and surprising facts about animal vision


Posted on May 19, 2022      36


1. Animals don’t have the same vision as humans. They see the world in very different colors.

2. Animals and humans have eyes as their organs of vision. According to scientists, eyes in living creatures developed about 540 million years ago. It was a common organ for detecting light.

3. Today, vision is extremely important for many animals, including humans. It has become very complex and diverse.

4. The vision of each animal species on Earth is unique. And the vision of animals has enough differences from the human vision. But humans and many other animals have binocular vision (three-dimensional image).

5. Most diurnal animals can distinguish individual colors of sunlight (color vision).

6. Although humans are the highest intelligent creature on Earth, some of our organs are significantly inferior to those of our lesser brothers, one of which is vision.

7. Some animals can see things that are inaccessible to us. Because animal eyes have much more light-sensitive cells than the human eye, this gives animals the ability to detect objects and even see colors at night.

8. Monkeys, although they are our genetic relatives, see 3 times better than we do.

9. Cats can see red, green and blue. These basic color components allow them to see colored images of objects. Cats see objects best at a distance of 2 to 6 meters.

10. A cat’s eyes are relatively large, both looking in the same direction. The arrangement of the eyes in cats is unique. Their field of vision covers 205 degrees, which is twice as wide as a dog’s and one and a half times wider than a human’s. Even if a cat sits sideways at us, it can see us.

11. Cats can see in the dark at all, because their pupil can dilate up to 14 millimeters, thus catching the slightest light waves. In addition, they have a reflective membrane behind the retina that acts as a mirror, collecting all particles of light. This allows a cat to see in the dark six times better than a human.

12. Dogs have similar eye shapes, but their pupil doesn’t dilate as much, giving them a fourfold advantage over humans in seeing in the dark.

13. Recently, people were sure that dogs saw everything in shades of gray, without distinguishing a single color. Recent research has proven this to be a mistake.

14. Dogs see the world in blue-purple and yellow-green colors. Their eyes are not sensitive to most colors, and they perceive the world as somewhat faded, since dogs’ eyes cannot distinguish between red and green. But dogs can see very well at night, much better than humans.

15. Also, dogs have a well-developed sense of perspective and depth, and their eyes are more sensitive to movement. They can see moving objects up to 900 meters away, while they can only see stationary objects up to 585 meters away.

16. And also dogs have visibility of 240-250 degrees. And this is 60-70 units higher than the ability of people.

17. Also worth noting is the difference in the location of the eyes of animals and us, due to which pets see with the peripheral vision no worse than the central one.

18. Curiously, dogs can see 70 frames per second. When we watch television, 25 frames per second for us merge into a single video stream, but for a dog it’s a quick succession of pictures, which is probably why they don’t really enjoy watching television.

19. The horse’s eyes are on the sides of the head. This helps to warn them of any danger. But it also has its disadvantages: these animals never see what is right in front of them.

20. In horses, the position of the head is important. When a horse raises its head, it sees almost everything around it, but as soon as it lowers its head, half of its vision is lost.

21. Horses see all 360 degrees except for two “dead” points, which are just in front of the forehead and the area at the back of the neck.

22. The horse’s eyes can move independently, allowing the horse to cover only a superficial panoramic view. Horses can also see in color.

23. Bulls are color blind.

24. For cows, their pastures are not green, but orange and red. They also see everything slightly magnified.

25. The field of vision of giraffes is almost 360 degrees.

26. Rhinoceroses are short-sighted - at a distance of 30-40 meters, they cannot distinguish a man from a tree.

27. Wild camels have well developed not only their sense of smell but also their eyesight. These animals can see a moving object at a distance of up to 1 kilometer.

28. Tigers have color vision, just like humans. Because of a mechanism that reflects light back to the retina, tigers have six times better night vision than humans.

29. The pupils of goats are rectangular. Because of this, animals have a wider field of vision. More precisely, goats (and most other animals with hooves) have horizontal pupils, which take a rectangular shape when dilated. This enables goats to see 320-340 degrees around themselves, i.e. they can see practically everything around them without having to turn their head, while humans see 160-210 degrees.

30. Animals with rectangular eyes can see better at night because of their large pupils, which are very narrow during the day, as they are close to limit the access to light. Interestingly, octopuses also have rectangular pupils.

31. Our feathered friends have keen eyesight. Nocturnal birds see very well when there is no light, and during the day, they can see shades of colors that humans cannot see, as well as ultraviolet light.

32. Birds are believed to be some of the most sighted animals on the planet. For example, a vulture, which soars high above the ground and can see everything below. A vulture can see a small rodent up to five kilometers away.

33. And the common pigeon has a 340-degree viewing angle, which allows it to see almost everything around it, making it difficult for cats to hunt it.

34. A falcon sees a mouse in a field from a distance of one and a half kilometers. Despite its speed of flight, clarity is fully kept.

35. Many feathered birds look at objects alternately with one or the other eye. On the one hand, this is because their eyes are on the sides of the head. They perform different functions: the left eye perceives colors better and the right eye captures movement.

36. The eyes of owls are amazing because they do not move at all, so birds can only look ahead. But nature took care of them, giving them excellent vision in the distance and in the dark, and it also gave them a very agile neck. Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees, which is how they make up for their lack of vision.

37. An owl can see the movement of a mouse at a distance of over 40 meters.

38. An owl is the only bird that can see blue.

39. Owls see much better in twilight at night than humans or daytime birds of prey. However, experiments have shown that they, like us, see nothing in absolute darkness.

40. Birds of prey boast the sharpest vision of all animals. For example, a human with normal eyesight can discern minor details from a distance of 1.5 meters, while a hawk can perfectly see them from 7 meters away.

41. But perhaps the record-breaker among birds is the barnacle. This bird of prey of the hawk family can spot a small rodent from a height of 4,500 meters.

42. We cannot help but be impressed by the visual acuity of the falcon. He can see at a distance of 1.5 kilometers to targets as small as 10 centimeters high. Even if he is moving at high speed, this does not reduce the falcon’s visual acuity.

43. Wild ducks have a 360 degree “field of view”.

44. Turkeys have periscopic vision, which allows them to see objects that are not in their direct field of vision.

45. Each of a mouse’s eyes moves independently, so they see two separate pictures. To them, the world is blurry, slow, and colored blue-green.

46. The eyes of rats can move in different directions and can deviate from each other up to 40° horizontally and up to 60° vertically, which together with the very agile head, provides an almost complete view in all directions.

47. Most hamsters always wink only with one eye and cannot look with both eyes at the same time.

48. But chameleons’ eyes can move independently of each other, which allows them to look in different directions at the same time. This gives them a 360 degree view. But before throwing out its tongue and grabbing its prey, the chameleon still puts its eyes together to determine the distance to its prey.

49. Chameleons have very sharp eyesight. They can see even the smallest insects from a distance of 5-10 meters and, like the longhorns, they can see ultraviolet rays.

50. In addition, some lizards have a special outgrowth of the brain at the top of the head. It is not accidentally called the third eye because it has kept visual functions in these animals.

51. Geckos have true night vision. For example, the leaf-tailed gecko or satanic gecko (its second name) actually has an amazing night vision. While cats and sharks can see 6 and 10 times better than humans, leaf-tailed geckos and other night gecko species see up to 350 times better than we do in dim light.

52. Snakes usually have poor vision, but they can see thermal radiation at night 10 times better than any modern infrared equipment. During the day, however, they only respond to movement-if their prey is not moving, they won’t catch it.

53. Pythons and boas can see infrared waves, heat. We also “see” it with our skin, but snakes see it with their eyes.

54. Baribals have color vision.

55. Insects, such as butterflies, can also surprise us with their vision. Their vision is not very sharp, but they can see much more colors and shades than humans, including ultraviolet light.

56. The eyes of insects have a faceted structure. Butterflies have over 1,000 faceted eyes.

57. Butterflies can distinguish images as small as 30 microns. Humans can distinguish such images by a factor of 3.

58. A cockroach’s eyes have 4,000 segments that help it see in all directions simultaneously.

59. Cockroaches can distinguish even the smallest objects and at a top speed. They can detect movement as small as 0.0002 millimeters, 250 times thinner than a hair! That’s why they are so nimble!

60. It is difficult to kill a common fly with a newspaper, either, because it sees 300 frames per second, which is six times faster than us. Hence the instantaneous reaction.

61. Flies have thousands of tiny eyes that create a single image. They can see ultraviolet rays, and the world moves somewhat slower for them than humans.

62.The most acute vision among insects is possessed by dragonflies. Dragonfly eyes are so large that they cover almost the entire head, giving it the appearance of a helmet and giving it a 360-degree view.

63. Their eyes comprise 30,000 visual elements called ommatidia, each containing a lens and several light-sensitive cells.

64. Dragonflies’ vision is excellent. They distinguish the widest range of colors and polarized light. They are especially sensitive to movement, so they are extremely quick to recognize any potential prey or enemy.

65. Some dragonfly species that “hunt” at dusk have a perfect vision in low light conditions, while we humans can barely see anything.

66. A dragonfly has different upper and lower halves of its eyes. In the upper one, there are fewer eyes and they are bigger, while in the lower one, the eyes are small and there are much more of them. Each of the dragonfly’s small eyes can produce a small, independent image.

67. The dragonfly has three small eyes that can detect movement even faster than its larger eyes do. These eyes quickly send visual information to the dragonfly’s central nervous system, allowing it to react in a fraction of a second.

68. Mosquitoes have infrared vision, which is why they can so easily find victims in the dark.

69. Ants, on the other hand, have poor eyesight.

70. Skunk spiders have eight eyes (a pair of which look forward) giving them eyesight that is estimated to be almost 1/6 that of a human.

71. The rule is that the more eyes, the better the vision, does not always work in the animal world. For example, most spiders have eight eyes, and some have 12. But even the most “eyed” individuals can only distinguish light from darkness. While other insects - nocturnal butterflies - not only see in the dark but also perfectly distinguish colors.

72. But scientists believe that ogre spiders actually have night vision, which is better than that of a cat, shark, and even an owl (which can see at night up to 100 times better than a human).

73. The bee has five eyes. Besides the two large ones, there are three tiny eyes on the parietal part of the head. It uses them to orient itself toward light.

74. A bee’s eye comprises 5,500 microscopic lenses, but they cannot see red.

75. But bees comprehend the world three times faster than humans. They also see ultraviolet rays that we can’t see.

76. And deep-sea fish can see in absolute darkness. They have an extra-dense retina, on each millimeter of which 25 million sticks are concentrated, which is 100 times higher than ours.

77. The peculiarity of seahorses’ vision is that they can look in different directions simultaneously. Objects seen by each eye are processed separately by the brain.

78. Underwater predators such as sharks do not see any colors, but their vision under water is much sharper than ours.

79. A shark’s eyes have a light-reflecting layer behind the retina that increases the efficiency of the visual receptors.

80. Also, the shark is the only fish that can blink with two eyes at the same time.

81. Dolphins cannot see objects in front of them. To see things, they lie down on their side and examine them with one or the other eye.

82. Jellyfish have 24 eyes on their bodies, so it is still a mystery to scientists how these animals can process visual information without a brain.

83. The shrimp can see 10 colors! That’s not counting the fact that the shrimp has trinocular vision, as opposed to the most common binocular vision on the planet (and with you and me).

84. Unlike the giant squid, the colossal squid has stereoscopic vision and has an excellent ability to estimate distance accurately.

85. Even more amazing feature of its vision is that each eye has a built-in “headlight,” an organ that can produce as much light as the squid needs in order to see its prey in the dark.

86. mantis crustaceans have much better color vision than humans; their eyes have 12 types of color receptors, while humans have only three.

87. They have ultraviolet, infrared, and polarized vision, making their vision the most complex of all animals.

88. Their eyes are at the end of a special stem and can move independently of each other, rotating 70 degrees. Interestingly, visual information is processed by the eyes themselves, not the brain.

89. Goldfish can see infrared and ultraviolet radiation, and everything in the immediate vicinity of them increases. That’s probably why so many fish look surprised all the time.

90. Besides vertebrates, invertebrates have eyes and eyeballs of various types of structure and visual capabilities. Cephalopods, many arthropods, cnidarians, ringed and flatworms have highly organized eyes.


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