Do Animals See Colors?

Some More Than Others

Saturday, April 27, 2013
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I have been asked several times over the past couple of days if animals see color. It has been my experience that yes, they do. I have heard animals say things like, “Can I have the red plaid blanket?” “I like the man that drives the blue car,” and “Can we have the pretty pink flowers in the house?”

Here I ask my animals, “Do you see color?”

Laura Stinchfield

Luca, my young poodle, says, “I smell better than I see color. I smell more of a distinction between things than I see a big distinction. But I do see color. I see that your hair and my hair are the same.”

Makia, my all white cat, says, “I do see color. I know that the grass is a bright color and I know the sky is a bright color. I know that my chair is red and I know the color of our house is the green color of catnip.”

Serafina, my gray cat, says, “I know I have a pretty orange collar and that it is a bright color. I know that the color of water is the same color as the sky.”

Bean, my bunny, says, “I know my carrot tops are the same healthy color as the grass in the backyard, and I know that my litter box is the same color as some of the bamboo.”

Stormy, my Aussie dog, says, “I don’t see that much now. Everything is foggy like the mist that comes from the ocean, but before my eyes got foggy I saw every color that humans see. I believe that animals feel the colors more than humans. I don’t do well around red. It makes me feel kind of sick.”

Seamora, my parrot, says, “Yes, I see every color, brighter than you see them. I don’t like dark colors; they make me feel sad. The bright colors make me feel like I am not alone and there is happiness all around me.”

Jubilee, my Appaloosa sport horse, says, ‘I see orange carrots. I have to tell you that I see more depth and distances than you do. Sometimes I get startled by the color of people’s clothing, and I admire the horses that have spots on their bodies.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Kind of puzzling that the horse "understands" the concept of depth but doesn't "know" that his spotted equine brethren are known as pintos??

zappa (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2013 at 2:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Colors appear washed out, foggy to all horses. They are somewhat colorblind and can't differentiate between orange and blue.

Looks like Jubilee is a liar.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2013 at 3:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for this article. Interesting comments above as well! It has motivated me to research into this further, thanks for the stepping stone :)

EquineTherapy (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2015 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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