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Are Rabbits Color Blind or Can Rabbits See Color?

Rabbits

Are Rabbits Color Blind or Can Rabbits See Color?

Can bunnies see color or are they color blind? We have an overview that will answer this question as well as help you understand rabbit vision better.

Bunnies are known for their large field of vision which is about 360 degrees, thanks to their high set, protruded and large eyes. They help them see predators from all directions without having to turn their heads. This is the main role of their vision and not foraging or help in locomotion.[1]

Do rabbits see color
Do rabbits see color?

Secondly, being crepuscular, they have a good vision in dim lighting conditions such as the one in twilight (dawn and dusk). However, these lagomorphs cannot see very well in bright light or in total darkness, i.e., bunnies do not have night vision. Furthermore, they are farsighted – they can see things far away better while they may not be able to focus on things near them.

These are just but a few visual adaptations of these pets. What about color? Are they able to perceive blue, yellow, green, red, and so on in the same manner we do or not?

Do rabbit see color

Yes. Bunnies see colors and they are not color-blind but have a limited color vision as well as they may perceive them differently from human beings. 

On to a little class of biology to bolster your understanding, you need to know that the retinas of vertebrates have photoreceptor cells known as cones and rods. The rods help in scotopic vision (seeing in conditions that have low levels of light such as in dark places). They cannot help seeing color and their spatial acuity is low.

On the other hand, the “cones are active in  higher light levels (photopic vision), are capable of color vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity.”[21] Bunnies have a higher ratio of rods to cones and this helps them see well in dim lighting conditions than very bright ones.

For instance, humans have a short wavelength, middle, and long wavelength sensitive cones each with maximum sensitivity for red, blue or green. We can see other colors due to the varying sensitivity by the three cones.

Each of these cones is responsible for perceiving different wavelengths and since different colors have a different wavelength, we can distinguish them once the brain has interpreted the signal sent to it by the optic nerve.

Unlike humans, “rabbits do have a limited ability to discriminate between some wavelengths of light, perceiving them as different colors.”[1] They have blue and green cones meaning they can distinguish these two but not in the manner we do since we have blue, green and red cones, i.e., they are dichromatic.

Furthermore, the population of the green cones outnumbers those that are blue. Therefore, this pet may not pay much attention to the different colors.

Since they have a sensitivity to blue and green, it is reasonable to conclude that these pets are partially color blind but not totally.

Finally, scientific research has revealed that the “domestic rabbit retina reach a peak density of about 300,000 per square millimeter in contrast with cones which reach a peak density of about 18,000 per square millimeter.” [31]

Conclusion

These pets cannot see colors as we do, and their vision is not as good as ours since their vision has poor resolution due to the lower number of the photoreceptors compared to human beings.

However, their ability to detect movement, scent, image, and voice helps them in detecting you or their predators. This special adaptation helps them survive in the jungle easily. 

Disclaimer

All the information and other materials contained on this website are for informational purposes only and not intended to substitute consultation, advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed professional or veterinarian. disclaimer

We are a group of animals and pet fanciers and experts knowledgeable on most pets including dogs, rabbits, cats, fish, reptiles, birds, among other home pets.

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