How do Rabbits See?
Rabbits have an incredibly keen sense of vision. In fact, their eyesight is one of the best of all domestic animals. This is especially true when it comes to detecting movement, which helps them to spot predators and escape danger. Here we take a closer look at how rabbits see and how their eyes are adapted for their environment.
Overview of Rabbit Vision
Rabbits have eyes on the sides of their head, allowing them to see more of their surroundings and detect predators. They also have something known as ‘ocular dominance’, which means that each eye can focus on something slightly different. This allows rabbits to have a wide view without needing to move their head.
Rabbits can detect movement up to 300 feet away and can see movement that is around 16 times faster than the average human eye. Once rabbits detect movement, they take cover or dash away quickly.
Ribbon Eye structure
Rabbits have a particular type of eye structure known as ‘ribbon eyes’. The ribbon eyes are made up of a large circular lens that extends across the front of their eyes. This lens is curved to allow the rabbit to have a wide range of depth perception. The lens also allows rabbits to have a wide field of view, up to 230-degrees. This means rabbits can see what’s happening to the left and right of them, as well as up and down.
Enhanced Night Vision
Rabbits also have an adaptation to see well in the dark. This is partly due to their ribbon eye structure which allows them to gather more light from their environment.
Rabbits also have something called a ‘tapetum lucidum’ which is a specialized layer of tissue at the back of their eyes within the retina. This tissue reflects light back through the retina, allowing for better night vision. It also gives rabbits the trademark ‘eye shine’ seen when shining a light in the dark.
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits can see color. They are able to see all the colors of the visible spectrum, apart from some of the brighter colors. They have good distinguishing ability when it comes to shades of blue, green and yellow. However, they may have trouble distinguishing colors such as bright pink and red.
Research has shown that rabbits tend to respond more to blue, green and grey colors and are less likely to be bothered by different colors.
Rabbits have incredibly good vision which is well adapted to their environment. They have eyes that are set wide on the side of their head and can see up to a wide-angle of 230-degrees. They can also detect movement up to 300 feet away, and colors of the visible spectrum, apart from bright colors. Finally, rabbits have an enhanced night vision due to the tapetum lucidum in their eyes, giving them the eye shine seen in the dark.