Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Animals can see other things than humans

Many believe dogs and cats are color blind. This isn't true; they see colors, but they see another range of colors than we do. This difference in how we perceive the world goes further than just color vision. Cats and dogs see much better in low light conditions than we do, and they can see other wavelengths where the human eye perceives nothing.

Cats, dogs, birds, bees, fish, mice, reindeer, bats, hedgehogs, ferrets, and some reptiles can see ultraviolet light. If you imagine a rainbow, ultraviolet would be below the inner purple band. A human eye sees nothing there, it looks like the rainbow ends at purple, but many animals might see more.

This ability has developed because of different needs in different species. A bee may need ultraviolet vision to discern colors and patterns that lead it to nectar. Reindeer are believed to have developed ultraviolet vision to discern polar bears and other threats that blend in with the white snow.

So, why can't humans see ultraviolet light? Our eyes allow us to see in higher resolution than the animals, which in turn means that we can see details better. The downside is that we don't see well in low-light, and that we see a smaller spectrum than many animals.

~ Maria Sadowski ~


  1. I thought you were going to say ghosts. That dogs see ghosts. Sydney saw one once.

    Thanks for this post. I had no idea about the ultra violet light.

    1. I sometimes think they see ghosts, but who knows, maybe it's just something in a spectrum we can't see. One of my dogs sometimes lies on the bed, looks towards the ceiling and growls. That's not creepy at all, lol!