You surely came across a lot of unusual questions in your life. Or maybe you are the one who asks odd questions. In any case, if the question you are looking for is – are wolves color blind?
The answer is: no, wolves are not color blind. Even though wolves do not see as many colors as we do, this doesn’t mean that they see the world as black and white. Wolves have dichromatic vision, and they can see variations of two colors.
In this article, we are going to talk about colors that wolves can see, and the ones that can’t. Also, we’ll discuss wolves’ night and far-distance vision abilities.
Let us dive in!
Are wolves color blind?
Let’s first define “color blind”. We, humans, define ourselves as colorblind if we have two kinds of cone cells. For animals, having two kinds of cones is completely normal. In fact, the majority of mammal species have two cones.
So now, you may wonder what cones are? Cones are photoreceptor cells that provide color vision. The color spectrum solely depends on the number of cones.
So if we look at people, we (usually) have three different types of cones that can distinguish combinations of green, red and blue colors red. On the flip side, wolves have two cones.
So, wolves are not completely color blind, since they can see the combinations of two colors.
Now when we broke the myth that wolves have a black and white vision, let’s see what colors they actually see.
What colors can wolves see?
Even though they mostly rely on senses of hearing and smell, yet sight still has an important role in wolves’ life.
Reports have shown that wolves see the world predominantly in blue and yellow colors. While other colors appear similar to those two, only in shaded versions. In other words, a wolf sees life in yellow, blue, and grey colors.
What colors can wolves not see?
Wolves are unable to see red and green colors. For example, the red color appears to wolves something brownish-gray. While both green and orange look yellowish to a wolf.
So, the view of the world from a wolfs’ perspective is kind of like looking at the old photos that have slightly faded colors.
Can wolves see in the dark?
Yes, wolves can see in the dark. In fact, they have great vision when the sun goes down.
Wolves have tapetum lucidum, which according to Wikipedia contributes to their super night vision.
But what actually is tapetum lucidum? It is a reflector located just behind the retina, and it reflects visible light back to the light-sensitive tissue. As a result, it increases light availability during the night. Which allows wolves, among other animals to see at night.
You probably noticed different animals that have shiny eyes at night. They all have tapetum lucidum. They all have night vision.
Despite the fact that wolves see fewer colors, they have some visual advantages over us. Besides night vision, wolves have a broader placement of eyes, which helps them to see much wider compared to us. For predators, like wolves, seeing in full color is not as important as some of these abilities.
How far can wolves see?
Wolves are very sensitive to distance motions. Compared to humans, they are 20 times more motion-sensitive. This natural gift comes in handy when hunting.
However, wolves do not see that well at far distances. It is believed that wolves can see clearly only up to 75 feet away. Yet, their smell scent is amazing, allowing wolves to smell prey 1.5 miles away.
Other animals that are color blind
As previously defined color blind includes animals that have a monochromatic vision (one cone cell). Since it is impossible to distinguish colors with only one cone, they see the world as black and white. Some of these animals include:
- Sea Lions
Different animals see the world differently. And only a few animals can see the world as colorful as we do.
When it comes to wolves, they see variations of blue and yellow colors. Yet, they can’t see red-green colors. Just because wolves are not able to see the entire color spectrum, as we can, that doesn’t mean wolves are completely colorblind.
Yet, the ability to detect long-distance movements combined with night vision makes wolves top predators.