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Animals Ranked by Eyesight and How They Compare to Humans

Have you ever been curious about how animals perceive the world? As animals have evolved with more intricate bodies and behaviors, their eyes have adapted to meet their survival requirements. The experts at Lasik by OCLI Vision have delved into the fascinating realm of animal eyes to produce a comprehensive guide comparing animal vision to that of humans. To rank these animals according to their eyesight, they took into account various factors, including precision in distance accuracy, perception of color and light, field of vision, and the speed of their vision based on flicker fusion frequency.

Below is the infographic of 90 animals ranked by eyesight and how they compare to humans.

How the Rankings Work

Humans are 0/0/0 on this chart and act as a point of reference. A 100 means that the animal is the best in that field compared to any other animal of thmrdass, except in the case of held of vision. Since many animals have 360 degrees of vision, they all get 100.

Distance

The distance measure ranks how far animals can see compared to humans. This includes the ability to see prey in the dark, spot movement, and recognize patterns and shapes from a distance. So a higher score may not necessarily mean they can see the farthest, just that their eyes are more versatile across distances than humans.

Color/Light Perception

The color/light perception measure ranks how well animals see in the dark and how many colors they can perceive compared to humans. The visible spectrum humans can see falls between ultraviolet light and red light. Humans typically have three types of photo pigments in their cones: red, green, and blue. This allows them to distinguish up to 10 million colors. Up to 12% of human females have four cone types, which enables them to perceive 100 times more colors. Many birds, insects, and fish have four cones, which enables them to see ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light has shorter wavelengths than humans can perceive. Other animals, such as dogs, have fewer types and numbers of cones, which reduces how many colors they can perceive.

Field of Vision

The field of vision measure ranks how the peripheral vision of animals compares to humans. Peripheral vision is how well you can see above, below, and to the sides of where your gaze is fixed. Eyes on the sides of the head typically allow for a wider field of vision. Prey animals and herbivores tend to have eyes on the sides of their head, enabling them to notice predators sneaking up on them. Most predators have front-facing eyes, which gives them a larger binocular visual field (where both eyes can see clearly together), helping them pinpoint and lock on prey over distances. If an animal has a field of vision of 360 degrees, they get 100 points.

nimals Ranked by Eyesight and How They Compare to Humans

The task of determining which animal boasts the best vision is far from simple, as there isn't a single clear winner. Selecting the ultimate eyesight champion in the animal kingdom is complex because every creature has evolved visual characteristics tailored to their survival needs. Moreover, various factors come into play when ranking animals' eyesight.

If you're contemplating which animal can see the farthest with the greatest precision, eagles undoubtedly take the crown. Eagle eyes are among the sharpest and most formidable in the animal kingdom, estimated to be approximately four to eight times stronger than the average human eye. Despite eagles weighing an average of 10 pounds, their eyes are roughly the same size as human eyes. Eagle vision excels at long distances and exhibits extraordinary color resolution and clarity. These birds can distinguish between five uniquely colored squirrel species and spot prey even when it's concealed. An eagle is believed to be capable of spotting a rabbit more than 2 miles away. During their rapid descents to strike prey, the muscles around their eyes continuously adjust the curvature of their eyeballs, ensuring sharp focus and accuracy throughout the entire process, including the attack itself.

In terms of 360-degree vision, chameleons are among the select few animals with a broader field of vision than goats and sheep. Chameleon's eyes can swivel far enough to provide them with a complete panoramic view of their surroundings, and they can move each eye independently.

In addition to chameleons, mantis shrimp, seahorses, dolphins, dragonflies, and certain bird species, like grackles, possess the ability to move their eyes individually.


Sharks are believed to possess the best underwater vision, with eyesight approximately ten times better than that of humans when submerged. Under ideal conditions, sharks can see up to 30 to 50 feet ahead of them, even in the dimly lit depths of the sea. Some studies suggest they can spot objects 30 yards away in clear water. Shark eyes are equipped with a reflective layer called the tapetum, enabling them to see exceptionally well in low light conditions. Their eye placement provides them with nearly 360-degree vision.

Mantis shrimp are another underwater vision marvel, often described as having the best vision in the animal kingdom. They possess 16 photoreceptors, four times more than humans, allowing them to perceive a broader spectrum of light.

In terms of color perception, mantis shrimp stand out, but other creatures enjoy a stunning array of colors as well. Certain dragonfly species can see up to 30 different colors and are the fastest at perceiving their surroundings, with a rate of up to 300 frames per second. Honeybees also have excellent color vision, interpreting colors five times faster than humans. To bees, flower petals appear to sparkle and shift colors, signaling an abundance of nectar to collect.

Now, let's explore the vision of our furry friends. Dog vision is estimated to be around 20/75, meaning they need to be 20 feet from an object to see it as clearly as a human standing 75 feet away. Their color vision is limited compared to humans, as they have only two types of cones (compared to our three), restricting them to shades of gray, brown, yellow, and blue. Dogs perceive visual information about 25 percent faster than humans, a trait that may have evolved from their wolf ancestors, aiding in the detection of small prey movements.

Cats have nearsighted vision, ranging from 20/100 to 20/200. Similar to dogs, they possess a limited color range in their vision. However, their night vision is impressive, allowing them to see six to eight times better in low light conditions compared to humans.

Animal

Description (and Awards if Applicable) 

Values Compared to Humans 

Birds

Bald Eagle

Best Distance Vision 
Eagles have the best eyesight in the animal kingdom and can spot and focus on prey up to 2 miles away. Although eagles weigh only around 10 pounds, eagle eyes are roughly the same size as human eyes. 

Distance: 100
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 90

Hawk 

Humans with healthy eyes have 20/20 vision, but hawks have 20/4 or 20/5 vision. They have a field of vision of about 278 degrees, compared to about 180 in humans. 

Distance: 90
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 80

Owl 

Best Night Vision 
Eyes contain a combination of rods and cones. Rods interpret light, and cones interpret color. The more rods an eye has, the better it sees in the dark. Owls have a million rods per square millimeter in their eyes, a density five times more than humans have. They have an extraordinary ability to spot prey in the dark, the equivalent of a human spotting a mouse by the light of a match a mile away. 

Distance: -50
Color/Light Perception: 100
Field of Vision: -40

Woodcock 

Best Bird Field of Vision
Woodcocks can see 60° in the horizontal plane and 180° in the vertical plane. This helps them spot predators while their beaks are underground searching for worms.
Woodcock eyes are set farther back than those of any other bird, and their ears are below rather than behind the eye socket. Evolution pushed their large eyes farther and farther back, causing the ears to shift below by simple necessity. 

Distance: -50
Color/Light Perception: 80
Field of Vision: 100 

Peregrine Falcon

These falcons have binocular vision eight times superior to that of humans. They can spot small prey more than a mile away. They are able to maintain sharp vision even while diving at 180 miles per hour. A third eyelid protects their eyes during these intense plunges. 

Distance: 95
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 80

Pigeon

Pigeons have excellent eyesight — in fact, they have been called “eyes with wings.” They have been used in search-and-rescue missions. 

Distance: 80
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 85

Goose

Waterfowl can see objects in fine detail up to three and a half times farther than humans can. They can also see in near-total darkness, with night vision 12 times better than humans have. 

Distance: 80
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 90 

European Robin 

Ability to See Magnetic Fields
In addition to rods and cones, robins have special cells in the retina that enable them to see magnetic fields, which is crucial for night orientation. They also have a specialized brain region that compiles visual data about the magnetic field, further enhancing night navigation. Only night migratory birds have this brain region (called cluster N). 

Distance: 80
Color/Light Perception: 95
Field of Vision: 80

Hummingbird

Hummingbirds can see colors beyond our comprehension, including ultraviolet. They can also see farther than humans and have a nearly panoramic field of vision. 

Distance: 50
Color/Light Perception: 95
Field of Vision: 90 

Vulture

Vultures have keen eyesight — it is believed that they can spot a 3-foot carcass from more than 4 miles away.

Distance: 95
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: -50

Mammals

Dog

Dogs, like most other mammals, have only two types of cones. This enables them to distinguish blue from yellow but not red from green. It is believed that they have roughly 20/50 vision. At night, this reduces to 20/250. However, they are much better at detecting motion. 

Distance: -50 
Color/Light Perception:
-50
Field of Vision: -30

Goat

Goats have horizontal rectangular pupils, which gives them a field of vision from 320 to 340 degrees. This enables them to spot predators while they are foraging. They also have excellent depth perception to help them jump and climb over difficult terrain. Slit pupils give them an advantage in low-light situations as well. 

Distance: -30
Color/Light Perception: 70
Field of Vision: 90

Cat

A cat’s eyesight ranges from 20/100 to 20/200, so they cannot see nearly as far as humans, but they can see in the dark six to eight times better. 

Distance: -75
Color/Light Perception: 25 
Field of Vision: 20 

Naked Mole-Rat

The naked mole-rat is mostly blind, but its eyes still serve a purpose — detecting magnetic fields. 

Distance: -100
Color/Light Perception:
-95
Field of Vision: -100

Horse

Horses have a nearly 360-degree field of vision with only two blind spots (directly behind the tail and in front of their head). They are believed to have 20/30 to 20/60 vision. They have almost twice the rods that humans do, giving them superior low-light vision. However, they are not adept at transitioning between high and low light, which often makes them reluctant to enter dark places. 

Distance: -25
Color/Light Perception: 40
Field of Vision: 95

Sheep

Sheep have a field of vision between 320 and 340 degrees, can see 20 feet away, have good night vision, and cannot see the color red. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception:
-20
Field of Vision: 85

Tiger 

Tigers’ forward-facing eyes aid in accurately accessing distance and depth of prey in complex environments. Their night vision is around eight times greater than humans’ is. They have a thick line of nerves running horizontally across their eyes, which improves their peripheral vision. 

Distance: -20 
Color/Light Perception: 70
Field of Vision: 10

Cow

Cows can see everything around them except directly behind them and have poor depth perception. However, they can see in dimmer light than humans can. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception: 20
Field of Vision: 80

Pig

Pigs have poor eyesight, which they make up for with their sense of smell, which may be superior to that of dogs — they have 1,113 olfactory receptor genes versus 811 in dogs. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception:
-80
Field of Vision: 50

Squirrel

Squirrels’ peripheral vision is just as good as their focal eyesight. They can detect small movements across long distances. Their night vision is quite poor.

Distance: 10
Color/Light Perception:
-80
Field of Vision: 70

Giraffe

Giraffes are among of the few mammals to be able to perceive color. They also have a 360-degree field of vision and can see far into the distance. 

Distance: 70
Color/Light Perception: 40
Field of Vision: 100

Rhino

Rhino eyes are small for their size, contributing to their poor vision. They are unable to see a motionless person just 15 feet away. They also lack color vision. 

Distance: -95
Color/Light Perception:
-90
Field of Vision: 50 

Bat

Bat eyes are loaded with rods, enhancing their night vision. However, they have poor clarity and are unable to see color. 

Distance: -95
Color/Light Perception: 60
Field of Vision: 0

Zebra

Zebras have keen eyesight and are able to spot movement over great distances. Their large eyes are oriented to give them a wide field of vision to spot danger. 

Distance: 80
Color/Light Perception: 30
Field of Vision: 90

Tarsier 

Tarsiers have the largest eyes of any mammal relative to their body size, with each eye having about the same volume as their brain. The high-density photoreceptor cells and sharp visual acuity of their eyes help them catch insects in the dark. Their eyes cannot move in their sockets, but they are able to turn their heads 360 degrees. 

Distance: -20
Color/Light Perception: 95
Field of Vision: 0

Reindeer

Arctic reindeer eyes change from gold in the summer to blue in the winter, which helps them navigate the shifting light levels of their extreme habitat. They can also see UV light, which is helpful for spotting wolves and lichen (which appear dark because they absorb UV light). 

Distance: -20 
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 80

Camel

Camels have adapted to have three eyelids and long eyelashes to protect their eyes from sand and heat. 

Distance: 60
Color/Light Perception: 40
Field of Vision: 80

Wolf 

Wolves are nocturnal hunters, so they have excellent night vision and can detect movement in low-light conditions far better than humans can. Their eyes lack a foveal pit, which reduces their focusing abilities across distances. 

Distance: -40
Color/Light Perception: 20
Field of Vision: -10

Otter

A specialized lens and cornea in an otter’s eyes correct for the refraction of light that occurs when transitioning from aerial to aquatic vision. In bright light, their vision is equally good above and below water; in dim light, their underwater resolution is superior. 

Distance: -70
Color/Light Perception: 40
Field of Vision: -20

Amphibians/Reptiles

Chameleon 

Best Reptile Field of Vision Chameleons have unique visual features such as a negative lens (concave shape), a positive cornea (convex shape), and monocular focusing (individual focus of each eye). These attributes give them laser-sharp focus. Their eyes also stick out from their head, giving them panoramic vision. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception: 40
Field of Vision: 100

Leopard Gecko 

Geckos are believed to be 350 times more sensitive to light and color than humans, making their night vision extraordinary. They also have 360-degree vision but a short focal length, making them susceptible to far-striking predators. 

Distance: -90 
Color/Light Perception: 100 
Field of Vision: 100

Crocodile

While crocodiles’ vision is six to seven times less sharp than human vision, they have mirrored receptors and built-in goggles that help them see in dark waters. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception: 70
Field of Vision: 50

Snake

Snakes have notoriously poor eyesight, which is why they rely on flicking their tongue in the air to get a sense of their surroundings. Their tongues “smell” the environment and pinpoint prey.

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception:
-30
Field of Vision: -20

Fish/Sea Creatures 

Shark 

Best Underwater Vision 
Sharks are estimated to see ten times better underwater than humans can. In the right conditions, they can see 30 to 50 feet ahead of them. They also have exceptional night vision. The backs of their eyes have a reflective layer called a tapetum, which allows them to see extremely well with little light. 

Distance: 50 
Color/Light Perception: 95 
Field of Vision: 95 

Mantis Shrimp

Most Complex Vision 
Mantis shrimp have 16 photoreceptors and can see UV, visible, and polarized light. In fact, they are the only animals known to be able to detect circularly polarized light (when the wave component of light rotates in a circular motion, like we often see in bioluminescence and light reflected off of iridescent materials like soap bubbles, beetle shells, and opals). Some research suggests that they use circularly polarized light as a secret communication system for courtship. 
Each eye moves independently, making their field of vision top-notch as well. 

Distance: -50 
Color/Light Perception: 100
Field of Vision: 100 

Seahorse

Seahorses are known for their sharp eyesight. They are able to move their eyes independently, so they can look in front of and behind them at the same time. This is useful for hunting food. 

Distance: 20
Color/Light Perception: 50
Field of Vision: 100 

Octopus 

Octopus do not have a blind spot (like vertebrates do) because their optic nerves do not pass through the eye’s light receptors but instead pass behind them. This enables octopuses to see all around them. They can also perceive light through their skin, enabling them to navigate in the dark. 

Distance: -70
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 100 

Giant Squid

Giant squid have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. This allows them to absorb more light to see bioluminescent prey. They do not have cones, so their world is likely black and white. 

Distance: 20
Color/Light Perception: 50
Field of Vision: 30

Blue Whale

Broadly speaking, a whale’s vision is about ten times worse than that of a human and several times worse than that of a dog or cat. Their world is monochromatic and blurry, but their hearing is superb! 

Distance: -90
Color/Light Perception:
-80 
Field of Vision: 50

Dolphin

Dolphins have limited color vision and poorer visual acuity than humans, but studies have shown that their visual perception may be comparable to that of primates like chimpanzees. They can see about 150 feet away, so they rely on echolocation to increase their range of “sight.” 

Distance: -70
Color/Light Perception:
-60
Field of Vision: 50 

Giant Ostracod

Best Underwater Night Vision
Giant ostracods have two massive, mirrored eyes that they use to hunt bioluminescent prey in the darkness of the deep ocean. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception: 100
Field of Vision: 90

California Purple Sea Urchin

These creatures have been described as “one big eye” because the surface of their bodies is packed with photoreceptors. This extreme light sensitivity enables them to see in every direction, even though they don’t have eyes. 

Distance: -50
Color/Light Perception: 95
Field of Vision: 100 

Goldfish 

Goldfish see clearly within a range of 15 feet and see combinations of red, green, blue, and ultraviolet light. Since they do not have eyelids, they need 8 to 12 hours of total darkness to rest. 

Distance: -90
Color/Light Perception: 30
Field of Vision: -30

Insects/Invertebrates

Australian Swallowtail 

These butterflies have 15 different types of photoreceptors, while most butterflies have four. They have extraordinary color vision to help them find flowers, which look even more incredible to them than they do to humans! The receptors also help them detect very specific types of color stimuli, such as objects hidden in vegetation or fast-moving objects. 

Distance: -80
Color/Light Perception: 100 
Field of Vision: 90

Dragonfly 

Best Color Vision/Most Lenses 
While humans are able to see combinations of three colors (red, blue, and green), dragonflies can see up to 30 different pigments! They also see faster than we do, from 200 to 300 images per second (compared to our 60). Nearly 80% of a dragonfly’s brain is dedicated to sight. They can also see in all directions at the same time. Some species of dragonfly have more than 28,000 lenses per eye, more than any other creature. 

Distance: -50
Color/Light Perception: 100
Field of Vision: 100

Horsefly 

Horseflies are able to see heat — they use thermal imaging to locate hosts for feeding. They can also track large moving objects, especially dark-colored ones, even in the midst of fast flight. 

Distance: 10
Color/Light Perception: 80
Field of Vision: 80

Honeybee

Fastest Color Vision 
Bees can distinguish colors five times faster than humans can. Flower petals also appear to sparkle and change color to them, drawing them in. This is because they can see into the UV spectrum. 

Distance: -95
Color/Light Perception: 90
Field of Vision: 65

Ant 

The smaller the ant, the blurrier the vision. That is because smaller ants have fewer ommatidia, the units that make up insects’ compound eyes. 

Distance: -95
Color/Light Perception: 30
Field of Vision: -80

Ogre Spider

Ogre spiders have two massive, hypersensitive eyes and six smaller ones. This gives them outstanding night vision, about 2,000 times greater than humans have. 

Distance: -70
Color/Light Perception: 100
Field of Vision: 100

Dung Beetle

Dung beetles’ eyes are so sensitive to light that they are believed to be able to see the Milky Way as a hazy stripe streaking across the night sky. They use the galaxy as a compass reference, helping them roll dung balls in straight lines in the dark. 

Distance: -90
Color/Light Perception: 95
Field of Vision: 0

Lastly, the term "critical flicker fusion frequency" (cFFF) comes into play. This concept represents the frequency at which flickering light appears continuous and is used to assess temporal vision processing. Animals that fly require a high CFF threshold to detect rapidly approaching objects and avoid collisions. Most movies are demonstrated in 24 frames per second, which is the minimum that appears to flow realistically for Homo sapiens. 

Animal

Upper CFF Threshold

Dragonfly

300

Honeybee

200

Pied Flycatcher

146

Collared Flycatcher

141

Pigeon

143

Peregrine Falcon

129

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

120

Starling

100

Rock Dove

100

Yellow-Pine Chipmunk

100

Cat

100

Chicken

90

Rhesus Monkey

95

Sheep

80

Dog

80

Green Iguana

80

Yellowfin Tuna

80

Fruit Fly

80

Emperor Moth

75

Common Octopus

72

Atlantic Salmon

72

Tree Shrew

70

Goldfish 

67

Human

60

Anole

70

Guppy

67

Siamese Fighting Fish

60

American Red Squirrel

60

Euphausiid Shrimp

57

Hermit Crab

53

American Crayfish

53

Guinea Pig

50

Tuatara

45.6

Great Horned Owl

45

American Cockroach

42.5

Euphausiid Krill

40

Green Sea Turtle

40

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

40

Jumping Spider

40

Brown Rat

39

Japanese Rice Fish

37.5

Lemon Shark

37

Harp Seal

32.7

Oplophorus Shrimp

32

Tiger Salamander

30

Sprague Dawley Rat

30

Rainbow Trout

27

Sergestid Shrimp

25

Swordfish

22

Green Frog

21

Tokay Gecko

20

Common Eel

14

Wolf Spider

10

Cane Toad

6.7


Data sources:

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