What colors do Rats hate or like? Rat Vision Guide (Updated)

Rats are rodents and of distinguishable sizes. Rats, in small size, are categorized under mice. Many peoples have asked plenty of questions about their vision. Hence, if you are one of them or want to know how rats perceive lights, then this post is best for you.

The answer to the question, “What colors do rats hate” is: Rats can’t distinguish colors like humans. It means they don’t hate or love any color or its shades. Rats are dichromats, and their retina comprises 99% of rods and only 1% of cones. Rods help them to sense only light and dark, while cones help them to differentiate colors. Their eyes majorly focus on light & dark backgrounds and UV lights.

Being dichromatic, their 1% cones only react to short “blue-UV” and middle wavelength “green” lights. They perceive the rest of the visible spectrum in generic dark shade.

Later in this post, we have explained rats’ vision in detail so that you can get an idea of how rats see the world. It will assist you in overcoming various challenges. Hence, without any further ado, let’s begin our article on what colors do rats hate or like?

What colors do Rats hate or like?

Rats’ vision primarily focuses on brightness rather than colors. It helps them to survive in an underground environment. Thus, rats don’t like or hate any color or its variation. Unlike humans, rats are dichromats, and for survival, their eyes are evolved to sense brightness and UV lights in the best way.

Also, being dichromatic norms, they can glimpse different colors but only in the shades of blue and green.

Rats have a limited ability to perceive color and have low-grade eyesight compared to clarity. Hence, they catch the world in blurred view.

According to the research, their cones react to the green light maximum at 510 nm peak sensitivity and blue cones, minimum peaking at 359 nm. Below we have attached the image of the visible spectrum for better understanding.

As per the image below 400 nm, the UV lights initiate. It demonstrates how good rats can perceive UV lights. Their ability to detect contrast between color shades is indeed weak, but since they are primarily nocturnal, distinguishing colors is not important to them for survival.

Their eyes are perfect in adjusting brightness and perceiving ultraviolet lights, which helps them sense nearby things.

What colors can Rats see?

Rats can see different variations of the blue-green range. Also, they are red-green range colorblind. It signifies their retina is only sensitive to blue-green, not the shades of red.

They witness red as a dark shade. In the past, rats were thought to be complete colorblind; however, the recent experiments proved that they can indeed perceive ultraviolet light and distinguish the shades of blue from the green but not green from red.

Rats are unable to sense the dark color variation. For them, all dark colors appear to be the same. Their eyes don’t comprise long-wavelength cones; therefore, they can pick up the presence of red wavelengths but see it black and white.

Can Rats see in the Dark?

Rats cannot see in the dark. They are nocturnal, which means active at night; still, they don’t have the proficiency to glimpse in the dark.

However, they have other extraordinary senses that help them easily navigate in the darkness, i.e., whiskers and perceive ultra-violet lights. Like other rodents, rats use whiskers to navigate themselves. Through the movement and bend of whiskers, they can estimate the direction.

Also, they can sense the UV light from the urines of the other rats, which assists them in moving in a particular direction.

Rats can see in the dark
Rats can see in the dark with the help of whiskers | Credits: ratbehavior.org

According to the research at Sheffield University, it experimented that rats can vary their whiskers depending on the environment.

For example, in the light, they use a different pattern of whiskers than in the dark, and it helps to avoid the different types of obstacles. In a nutshell, they mainly depend on their whiskers rather than their eyesight.

Are Rats colorblind?

Yes, rats are color-blind but not completely. They have color blindness but can perceive colors of middle and short wavelengths and distinguish them only in the blue-green range.

Also, their eyes are adjustable to light and dark shades. Based on clarity, their weak eyesight leads them to see the world in a blur. But to gain the upper hand, they have the capability to sense the ultra-violent light.

Rats can catch the left side of the visible spectrum from approximately 510 nm to 359 nm.

Human Vision vs. Rat Vision
Human Vision vs. Rat Vision

However, Albino rats have a different case. Albino rats are completely colorblind or severely visually impaired.

Do Rats see Infrared light?

No, rats don’t have the potential to see infrared light. Infrared light has a longer wavelength as compared to other colors, and rats are dichromats with the absence of long-wavelength cones.

Also, rats don’t have other senses to detect IR effectiveness, as snakes and bats have. Therefore, it’s impossible for them to witness Infrared light.

How far can Rats see?

According to the study, rats are short-sighted. It means they can see near objects clearly but distant objects in blurred. Many rat owners claim that rats can focus a maximum of up to 2 feet away.

Although the actual distance is still not confirmed, how short-sighted they are. But as same as other rodents, they can sense the movements from a long distance with the help of their other sensing abilities.

How do Rats see humans?

Rats see humans in blurry blue-green vision with low color saturation as same as they see other life forms. However, they can differentiate humans and recognize their owners with their other senses. Also, they have excellent memories.

Human Vision vs. Rat Vision

Human Vision Rat Vision
Humans are trichromatic Rats are dichromatic
Can see millions of color shades See Ultra-Violet light
Can see clear images See Blur images

Here, we conclude our article on “What colors do rats hate, love, and see,” along with other queries. We hope you like it. We will be back with another article. Till then, stay tuned with us and read the article on mice. Both mice and rats are rodents, but some features are different.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Do Rats see better in the dark or light?

Ans. Rats are nocturnal means they can see much better in the dark.

Q2. How do Rats see the world?

Ans. Rats see the world in blurry blue-green shades.

Q3. What color light do Rats hate?

Ans. Rats don’t have the capability to differentiate various color variations. Hence, they don’t love or hate any color.

Q4. Can Rats see the red light?

Ans. Rats can see the red light in dark shades.


Rats purposefully use their whiskers in different ways to help navigate in the dark. University of Sheffield.

Jacobs et al. 2001. Cone-based vision of rats for ultraviolet and visible lights. The Journal of Experimental Biology.

What Do Rats See by Rat Behavior

Journey into a rat’s world by Rat Behavior

Also Read: