I brought home a red flag from the community fair. As I sat on the couch, I waved it front of my dog playfully. He gladly bounced up and down to get hold of it and finally managed to snatch a piece from my hand.
At that moment it struck me- Was it the red color of the flag that caught his attention or was it the waving action. I couldn’t stop myself and had to probe into the color vision of dogs.
Animals have a limited color vision. Depending upon the type of animal, it varies in clarity and brightness. Some can see only black, grey and white while some are more fortunate to be able to identify brighter hues like reds, yellow, blue and green.
This article touches upon the topic “color visions in dogs”. It also explains color vision in other animals.
Factors affecting Color Vision in Animals
The ability to see colors in animals depends upon the type of Photoreceptors present in the retina. There are two main types of photoreceptors in the retina- rods and cones.
The rod shaped photoreceptors are very sensitive to light. The main function of the rods is to enable vision in dim light. On the contrary, the ability to see in bright light comes from the cones. Cones also help animals identify various colors and shapes. Additionally, the amount and type of red, blue and green a cone has determines the colors an animal sees.
Color Vision in dogs
Dogs are not color blind, but they have poor color vision. In comparison to humans, dogs not only see fewer colors but also a more faded version of the colors we see.
A dog’s eye contains more rod shaped cells than cone cells. Fewer cone cells are the reason why dogs perceive colors lighter than they exist. In addition to this, a dog’s eyes contain only two of the three types of cone shaped photoreceptors. Thus, they see only certain colors of the color spectrum and are said to have dichromatic vision.
So, which are the different colors a dog can see? Researchers state that dogs can identify shades of grey, selected shades of blue and shades between brown to yellow on the color spectrum. Dogs cannot distinguish between reds and greens and perceives them as shades of grey.
Color Vision in other animals
Color vision in cats, rabbits, mice and rats is similar to the color vision in dogs. They have dichromatic vision and can see shades of grey, blues and yellows.
Whales, sharks, walruses, dolphins and bats are all colorblind mammals. Someone must have told that bulls get angry at the color red. But the fact is bulls are color blind they cannot see red or any other color.
Fish insects, monkey ground squirrels and have good color vision. They do not see as good as humans but it is enough to help them with activities such as finding their food or identifying predators.
You will be surprised to learn about the members of the animal kingdom who have a very well develop spectrum of color vision. They are the birds, bees and the butterflies. They not only view the world in color, but are able to perceive even those colors not visible to humans.