How many of you have ever wondered how different animals view the world? It is hard to imagine how they view different objects, and how much it differs from human vision. We focus a lot on what our eyes see and how incredible they are, but we thought it would be fun to show you how some animals perceive the world, too!

The cone and rod cells in our eyes allow us to see many different shapes and colors. It is said that the human eye can distinguish around 10 million colors. We are trichromats, meaning that our cone and rod cells let us see red, green, and blue, as well as in small amounts of light. We are lucky to have some of the sharpest eyesight out there. This is not the same for a lot of animals, most of whom are actually colorblind and have blurry vision!

Here’s a look into the world of a few animals:

DOG                                      vs.                             HUMAN

dogs vision

Dogs have just two types of color-detecting cells/cones. Their cone cells are specialized for picking up yellow and blue hues. They do not have the cones to distinguish red and green. The range of colors an animal sees depends on the combination of their color-sensitive pigments in their eye and the processing by the brain. With fewer cone types, dogs can’t distinguish between as many colors as humans can. Their vision can be compared to a human that is colorblind with red-green color blindness.

  CAT                                      vs.                             HUMAN

Cat Vision_Blur

Cats are dichromats, meaning they only have two different cone cells in their eyes and are unable to see red. Imagine every version of red we see as different shades of blue or green. They also don’t see as clearly during the day as humans because they are lacking in cone cells. This, however, is backwards at night. They see much better than we do at night because they have many more rod cells in their eyes than we do.

BEE                                     vs                               HUMAN

Bee Vision_Blur

Bees are trichromats just like we are, but they don’t see in reds, greens, and blues. Instead, they see in yellows, blues and ultraviolet lights, something we can’t pick up on. This lets them see patterns on flower petals that lead them to the nectar they need. Their eyes are also set up in thousands of different lenses, making their eyesight much more blurry than ours. A zoology professor at the University of Lund in Sweden, Dan-Eric Nilsson, said if humans had eyes made up of lenses like those of a bee but performed as well as our eyes do, each lens would be the size of a hula hoop!

BIRD                                          vs                                   HUMAN

Bird Vision

Birds are tetrachromats, meaning they can see red, green, blue and ultraviolet light all together. Some birds, like eagles, have even sharper vision (up to 2.5 times that of humans) for preying on food. Unfortunately, we can never fully understand what the world of a bird looks like because we don’t have the ability to see all four types of light at once.

RATTLESNAKE                          vs                                  HUMAN

Rattlesnake Vision

Rattlesnakes differ from humans in their ability to see infrared light. During they day they have blurrier, color vision, with more rods for heightened sight at night. What’s interesting about them is that they have two holes between their eyes and nose that each have a thin membrane to detect heat. This allows them to transform heat signals into nerve signals. Experts say it isn’t hard to see as a rattlesnake does – just look through an infrared camera!

Photos and Resources borrowed from:

 Dr. Klaus Schmitt

Elizabeth Preston