Like most nocturnal creatures, hamsters have vision adapted to life in the dark. One of the most frequently asked questions on this subject is: "Can a hamster see in the dark?". Intriguing! Let's take a look at the characteristics of hamster vision, and their ability to adapt to different lighting conditions.
The eyes of hamsters
As with humans, a hamster's eyes are made up of different elements such as the cornea, iris, crystalline lens and retina. The retina is the part of the eye that captures light and enables the brain to transform this information into images.
But unlike humans, hamsters have a retina composed mostly of rods and few cones. This particularity has many consequences on the way they perceive the world around them.
Rods and cones are two types of photoreceptor cells present in the retina. Rods are responsible for night vision and motion perception, while cones are responsible for distinguishing colors.
In hamsters, the retina is made up of around 97% of rods and only 3% of cones. This means that hamsters have excellent night visionon the other hand less sensitive to color and fine detail.
Can a hamster see in the dark?
Hamsters have relatively good night visionThanks to the large number of rods in their retina, they are able to see very well in the dark. However, they do not see as well in the dark as some other animal species that are perfectly adapted to nocturnal life. Their crepuscular and nocturnal behavior is mainly explained by their lifestyle wildIn this case, they had to avoid daytime predators and take advantage of the food resources available at night.
Although their night vision is excellent, they cannot see perfectly in absolute darkness. They need a minimum of light to distinguish objects around them.
Can a hamster see colors?
Because of the low proportion of cones in their retina, hamsters have a limited color perception. They are generally thought to be able to distinguish a few shades of blue and green, but have great difficulty discerning warm colors such as red, orange or yellow.
The vision of details is also less precise in hamsters than in humans. Indeed, their visual acuity is estimated at about 20/200This means they don't see objects as clearly as we do.
Excellent motion detection
Thanks to the special structure of their retina and the arrangement of their eyes on their head, hamsters are highly sensitive to movement. Their field of vision extends over approx. 340 degreesThis enables them to easily detect any movement around them. This ability to perceive movement is essential for avoiding predators and spotting prey in their natural environment.
How to adapt your hamster's environment to its vision?
Understanding how a hamster sees can help you adapt its habitat and make its life more enjoyable and stimulating. Here are a few tips for taking into account the particularities of your little friend's vision:
- Maintain an appropriate level of light As hamsters are most active at night, provide them with a quiet, subdued environment during the day. You can use blackout curtains to minimize light entering the cage room.
- Avoid brightly colored objects Hamsters do not perceive warm colors very well, so choose blue or green objects and accessories for their cage.
- Stimulate their motion detection You can encourage your hamster to use his visual skills by offering him toys that move or by placing his food in places where he has to catch it on the move.