Can see animals in the dark

Video: how do cats see

Cats see much better in the dark than humans. This is due to a reflective layer in the cat's eye, the so-called "Tapetum Lucidum". This layer acts like a light amplifier and is the reason why cat eyes light up in the dark.

At dusk, cats see more than people

Humans see much less than cats at night. They rely on electric lights or reflectors on delineators along the roads. These "cat eyes" are named for a reason: because cats' eyes - in contrast to human eyes - can reflect light and therefore see much better in the dark. In addition, cats have a larger field of vision than humans. The nocturnal animals perceive more at the periphery of their field of vision than humans do.

The receptors: cones and rods

What happens when light falls in the eye? In both cats and humans, light hits the retina. This in turn consists of millions of tiny receptors. There are two types of receptors: the cones are responsible for the colors, the light-sensitive rods for the light-dark perception. Important differences between cats and humans are: Cats have a significantly higher number of light-sensitive rods and a different color perception than we do. So far, scientists have assumed that cats see the world more blue-violet and green-yellow.

The "Tapetum Lucidum"

The crucial difference, however, why cats see better than humans at dusk, is a reflective layer behind the retina. This layer, which experts call “Tapetum Lucidum”, acts like a light amplifier. If the light falls into the cat's eye, it is reflected once more on the receptors, as if by a mirror. This helps the four-legged friends to make a lot more out of little light. If cat eyes light up in the dark, the reason is the "Tapetum Lucidum". The slit-shaped, vertical pupils of the cat also enable the four-legged friend to make maximum use of incident light, even in poor lighting.