Have you ever felt that your cat or dog can see something you don’t? Well, you may be right, according to a new study.
Cats, dogs, and other mammals are thought to see in ultraviolet light, which opens up a whole different world than the one we see, the study explains.
Seeing the World in Ultraviolet (UV) Light
UV light is the wave length beyond the visible light from red to violet that humans can see. Humans have a lens that blocks UV from reaching the retina. It was previously thought that most mammals have lenses similar to humans.
Scientists studied the lenses of dead mammals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, pandas, hedgehogs, and ferrets. By researching how much light passes through the lens to reach the retina, they concluded that some mammals previously thought not to be able to see UV actually can.
"Nobody ever thought these animals could see in ultraviolet, but in fact, they do," Ron Douglas, the study leader and a biologist at City University London, England, told LiveScience.
What purpose does being able to see UV light serve for animals such as reindeer, rodents, and other mammals? It allows reindeer to see polar bears, for example, which are nearly invisible in regular light because they blend in with the snow.
UV light also allows mammals to see urine trails. This would be helpful for predator animals, such as cats and dogs, to find food in the wild.
Image: INTVGene / Flickr