There are many untrue myths floating around about animal vision, but did you ever stop to think how animals actually see? This video explored just that, and while it may not be fully accurate, it’s definitely good enough to give us a good idea.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t see the world in black and white, although they don’t really see as well as humans; they are very nearsighted, and looking at something that’s isn’t really close makes things quite blurry for them. They do have a wide peripheral vision though. More info on how dogs see the world here.
Cats, like dogs and many other animals, have a tapetum lucidum — a reflective layer behind the retina. While this allows them to see better in the dark, it reduces their overall visual acuity. Cats have a visual field of view of about 200°, compared to 180° in humans, but a binocular field (overlap in the images from each eye) narrower than that of humans.
Vision is the most important sense for birds since good eyesight is essential for safe flight. This group has a number of adaptations which give visual acuity superior to that of other vertebrate families. Of course, different types of birds see differently, but they do have some things in common. Birds of prey especially have a very high density of receptors and other adaptations that maximize visual acuity.
Fly eyes have the fastest visual responses in the animal kingdom. They also have compound eyes, with thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. Each ommatidium is a functioning eye in itself, and thousands of them together create a broad field of vision for the fly. They can also see a broader spectrum of light than humans.
Snake vision varies wildly, but overall it differs greatly from that of humans. The main trend is that it can sense thermal signatures. Pit vipers, pythons, and some boas have infrared-sensitive receptors in deep grooves on the snout, which allow them to “see” the radiated heat of warm-blooded prey mammals
Sharks can’t see color, but of course, they see much clearer underwater.
Fish don’t really see like sharks do, which is somewhat surprising, but they do have ultraviolet color receptors — something which again, we don’t have. Fish eyes are similar to terrestrial vertebrates like birds and mammal but have a more spherical lens. Deep water fish are adapted to seeing in low light.
Rat vision is quite blurry, around 20/600 for normally pigmented rats. Albino rats, however, are probably blind or severely visually impaired, with about 20/1200 vision. They can, however, move their eyes individually, which is quite interesting.
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