How Do Animals See Color?

With our Lovely Pets Event starting today, we thought it might be interesting to think a little bit about how colors apply to animals – specifically, how many colors can animals see?

Well, it’s different for a lot of different animals! As far as scientists can tell, dogs see the world in shades of yellow, blue and gray.

Cats are pretty similar, in that they see blue and yellow too – but instead of grey, they’re more like color-blind humans when it comes to other colors. So to a cat, a red apple looks green!

And rabbits? Turns out rabbits can only see blue and green, but they also have almost 360 degree vision – meaning they can see in almost every direction at once! Except for right in front of their noses, where they have a little blind spot. But that kind of makes up for not seeing so many colors, right?

Ferrets have incredible low-light or night-vision, but the domesticated ferrets we keep as pets can only detect the color red – everything else looks grey to them. That’s pretty much all they need, though, since they naturally do most of their moving around when it’s dark and colors are undetectable anyway!

What about reptiles? Well, most lizards can actually see a whole color we can’t – ultraviolet! Reptile eyes can see UV light, and studies have revealed that lizards that look very dull-colored to us – boring browns and blacks – actually have ultraviolet coloring on their bodies that we can’t see! So lizards look much more ‘colorful’ to each other than they do to us!

So while you're coloring today, take a second to think about how your pictures might look to your favorite animal - it's probably quite different from how it looks to you!