Can Animals See in the Dark Better Than Humans?

can-animals-see-dark-better-humans Credit: Berndt Fischer/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

Animals have special adaptations in their eyes that give them better night vision than humans. However, there are differences between how different species see in the dark. Some animals have even more adept night vision than others.

Some animals, such as cats, owls and frogs, have pupils that cover the entire eye when wide open. Nocturnal animals have a special layer behind the retina, called the tapetum, which allows them to use even small amounts of light to see. When light passes through the retina, it reflects back off the tapetum, which makes the animals eyes seem to glow in the dark.

While some animals can see better in the dark, they do have trouble focusing on specific images in many cases. Instead, they see a range of shadows and are able to detect movement. In addition, some animals, including dogs, only see in shades of gray.