Have you ever wondered how your pet’s eyes work, compared to the human eye? Have you gotten ready in the morning, and asked Max, your faithful Jack Russell, his opinion on how you look? Have you ever wondered why your beautiful gray kitty Bella never seems to hunt during the day? Here are some fun facts about your favorite animal’s eyes.
An old myth is that dogs are color blind. They do only have two color sensitive zones—yellow and blue—compared to the human eye which has three color sensitive zones—red, green and blue. The color vision of a dog is similar to a person that suffers from red-green color blindness. Red, yellow and green are perceived as one color. Blue and purple are perceived as a second color, and cyan and magenta are perceived as neutral or grey. But they do have better perspective and depth perception due to the placement of their eyes than humans do. It’s no wonder Buddy can catch that frisbee effortlessly!
Cats have even weaker vision than dogs during the day. They truly are color blind, and rely on scent and sound for their primary sensory detection. However, they have incredible night vision, allowing them to see at light levels six times lower than a human needs to be able to see. No night vision goggles needed for Tiger! Their eye lenses don’t change shape to compensate for seeing close up, so they see best at a distance of two or three feet, which is why they can catch mice in the dark. Not to mention, of course, leaving them at the back door for you to find the next morning!
Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal living on land. Horses can see in color, but even more amazing is how a horse’s eyes work. Because their eyes are on the side of their head, their eyes can move independently. Horses have an amazing range of vision—Mr. Ed could see almost 360 degrees at one time! However, they can’t see RIGHT in front of themselves, which is why they often look down when they are walking, or at your hands for an apple.
With so many species of birds, it is not surprising to learn that many species see entirely differently. Pigeons can see millions of different hues, with an ability to see at least 5 spectral bands. They are considered to be the best at color detection ability of any animal on the earth. Feel like sending a message—pull your carrier pigeon out of his cage, and he’ll get that message where you need it to go, with no problem! He’ll be able to see every shade and hue to find his way, except for one. Owls are the only bird that can see the color blue!
Eyes are one of the smallest parts of our human bodies. Our eyes are only about an inch across, but compare that to a Colossal Squid, whose eyes are nearly 10 inches across! Our eyes feed information to our brains, which translate the information to pictures. It’s a good thing our brains are bigger than our eyes, unlike an Ostrich, which has it the other way around.
Our eyes are so complex, and made up of so many individual parts working together. Keep your vision clear, and your eyes healthy, with regular visits to your Ophthalmologist. Then, you can take Buddy out for his frisbee run, and praise Tiger for her catch, no matter how they see you!