MadSci Network: Zoology

Subject: RE: Rabbit vision

Posted by Charles Hanson
Grade level: Grad student Neuroscience / Neurosurgery
City: State/Province:
Area of science: Zoology

Dear Audrey,

Thank you for your question about rabbit vision. To answer your question simply, yes, rabbits see very much like we do. Just like in humans, light passes through the rabbit's CORNEA and LENS (yup, just like the lens of a camera) and is focused on the RETINA. The retina is a sheet of tissue in the back of the eye that contains PHOTORECEPTORS, and NEURONS (or nerve cells). The PHOTORECEPTORS 'detect' the light that strikes them and pass on the information to the NEURONS which communicate this information to the rabbits BRAIN. All this happens just like in humans!

There are differences between the rabbits visual system and ours however. First, if you have noticed, a rabbits eyes are relatively farther apart than ours and are situated closer to the sided of the head (imagine moving each of your eyes closer to each of your ears). The reason for this is simple, rabbits are herbivores (and a prey species) and we are generally considered predators. Having eyes on each side of the head allows the rabbit to see a much wider field of view than we can, which enables it to keep a close eye out for predators (fox, wolves, cats, and people!). Our eyes are in the front which limits our field of view but allows for very good DEPTH PERCEPTION (so we can judge distances very well). Also, unlike most humans, rabbits are COLOR BLIND. This occurs because some of the rabbit's PHOTORECEPTORS called CONES, do not produce the same kind of color sensitive pigments that our eyes do.

You and a friend or teacher may want to look more into the words that I have highlighted in all CAPITAL letters. This way you can really start to appreciate the process of vision.

I hope this has begun to answer your question.


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