Compared to animals, humans have much better eyesight to distinguish millions of color shades. However, in exchange, we have a lack of night vision ability. And in this particular factor, most animals are superior to us. Therefore, in this post, we have come up with a list of the Top 10 animals with the best night vision. Here, we refer to animals as every living being, whether it be fish or a bird.
Before the discussion, let’s inform you of the prominent ability that provides night vision among various nocturnal animals. It is called tapetum lucidum. It is a thin, reflective tissue in the eye that recollects even the slightest of light back directly retina, helping to clearly see even in low light conditions.
However, some nocturnal animals don’t have tapetum lucidum, so they have too many rods in their eyes. Rods enable them to differentiate objects even in the dark clearly. Humans’ eyesight primarily focuses on cones rather than rods, which allows us to sense millions of hues. So, let’s begin our article on “Top 10 Animals with Best Night Vision.”
10) Snakes (Vipers)
Many snakes are nocturnal and carry on their day-to-day activities only at night. Snakes like Boas and Pythons have a heat pit on their face that grants them the ability to see the infrared radiations from any hot-blooded animals.
Also, desert snakes like rattlesnakes and vipers can see infrared up to 90 μm. In this way, they can sense any hot-blooded animals even in the complete darkness. Vipers and Rattlesnakes are among the few creatures that can find and catch their prey even in the total darkness.
Crocodiles are also nocturnal animals. They usually run down their prey at night when the light’s brightness is very low. To perfectly glimpse at night, crocodiles have tapetum lucidum in their eyes, enhancing their vision’s brightness and strength in low-light conditions.
In addition, crocodiles have more rods than cones, allowing them to see much better in the dark than humans.
Bears also have great night vision. Like other nocturnal animals, bears have tapetum lucidum and ten times more rods in their eyes compared to humans. Bears are one of the few animals that have good eyesight, nearly similar to us in every aspect.
But they gain superiority over us in night vision. In addition, they have an advanced sense of hearing and smell that allows them to track their food from a very far distance.
Raccoons are nocturnal animals, and their eyes are evolved with more rod ratio compared to us, which enhances their ability to see in the dark. In addition, they also have tapetum to improve brightness in low-light conditions.
We all are familiar with raccoons and know they are not able to see perfectly on a bright sunny day. Raccoons’ night vision helps them to see even the minor details of an entity in the dark.
However, like the other animals mentioned above (except Vipers), they cannot glimpse perfectly in complete darkness.
6) Owl Monkeys
Monkeys are mainly diurnal, but among them, only owl monkeys are nocturnal with the ability to see at night. Unlike other monkeys, owl monkeys have enormous eyes with a monochromatic vision that helps them perceive more light in the dark.
Here, monochromatic vision refers to the lack of cones and the presence of more rods assisting them in catching gray-scale images even in the dark. In exchange for color vision, they have evolved a better night vision.
Also, unlike other nocturnal animals, they lack tapetum lucidum. But they have something similar called tapetum fibrosum in their eyes, along with a central fovea.
It has the same function and is slightly better than lucidum. Owl monkeys are completely colorblind during the day, and at night, they carry out daily activities with their advanced night vision.
5) Deep Water Fish
Deep Water Fish spends most of their lives deep under seawater where there is no light. Therefore, they have developed various ways or techniques to glimpse even in the complete darkness. Such as, whales and dolphins use biosonar to track their prey.
Even though they have tapetum lucidum in their eyes, they still predominantly depend on echolocation because it helps them to navigate even in the complete darkness under the deep sea.
Like them, many other deep-water creatures have evolved multiple techniques to see even colors in the total darkness.
4) Cat Family (Felidae)
Most species under Felidae are at least partial nocturnal. They all have good night vision due to the presence of tapetum lucidum. It grants them the ability to see in the dark by reflecting even the slightest of light back inside the eyeball and gives felid eyes their distinctive shine.
Not only this but due to the relatively high proportion of rod cells, felids can perceive six times more light than us, allowing them to distinguish even moving objects at night.
Octopuses don’t need eyes to see underwater in the complete darkness. They sense effectively sense the environment with the help of their tentacles. The motive behind putting Octopus on the list is that it can easily perceive and navigate even in complete darkness.
The skin on their tentacles is covered with a pigment-filled organ called chromatophores. It quickly responds to anything, whether its light, object, food, etc. presently, it is not confirmed how octopuses see the world. Still, many researchers claim they can even distinguish the colors in the complete darkness.
Frogs have the best night vision, which allows them not only clearly see in the dark but also to distinguish colors. Frogs have tapetum lucidum and high rods ratio in their eyes, enabling them to perceive an object’s shape and size at night.
In addition, they also lack UV filters and can also see ultraviolet light. However, many kinds of research show that they can also see colors in the dark.
According to the Lund University in Sweden, frogs or toads have superior night vision that assists them in recognizing not only the shapes but even identifying the colors of the various entities. It is because they have two different kinds of rods. One is used to perceive the slightest of light, and the other one helps to distinguish hues. To read more about frog vision, visit below.
Must Read: Can Frogs see in the Dark?
No wonder, Owls have excellent night vision and are the best night-time predators. They have front eyes with binocular vision and can easily focus on the movements of any object.
Their large, tube-shaped eyes contain many more rods compared to the human eye, along with the reflective membrane called tapetum lucidum.
In addition, they can also widen their irises to allow more light to reach the retina. All these abilities help owls to perceive an adequate amount of light even in the dark, making them the best night predator.
Other Animals with Night Vision (List)
- Carpenter or Bull AntsDeer
- Black Rhinos
- Wolf Spiders
- Leopard Geckos
- Other Nocturnal Birds
- Most Carnivores
- Large-Eyed Mammals
Here, we conclude our article on “Top 10 Animals with Best Night Vision.” We hope you this ranking. Also to know more about how a particular animal see in the dark, you can go through our website. That’s all for now. We will be back with another informative post. Till then, stay healthy and tuned with us.
Meet Abhidept (nickname Monty), the visionary founder of How It See, being an engineering student, he’s fueled by an insatiable curiosity about the world around him. He is captivated by an eclectic correlation between animal groups, science, and nature, and this fascination drives his quest for understanding.
After completing his degree, he’s set on a mission to delve deep into the realm of nature, accumulating knowledge to share with you through his writing. In the meantime, he loves to watch anime and read anime.