MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What small rodents aren't color blind?

Date: Thu Apr 15 13:02:40 1999
Posted By: Jurgen Ziesmann, MadSci Admin
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 921517187.Zo

Dear Danielle, Dear Lizz:

Thank you for your question. 
As with most good questions, yours is not easily answered. The reason for this
is that there are literally hundreds of rodent species on our earth and we 
have no knowledge about most of them. Sorry, I can not give you a detailed 
answer for beavers, capybaras, chichillas, chipmunks, gerbils, lemmings, 
marmots, muskrats, porcupines, prairie dogs, ...
For all of them, one general rule: species that are night active normally have no 
color vision. The more they are active during daylight, the better they can see 
About some few species, that are often kept as pets we do know a little more:
Rat: color blind
Rabbit: color blind
Hamster: color blind
(House)Mouse: can see yellow and red
Guinea pig: can see red, yellow, green and blue
Squirrel: can see colors

If they can see colors, that still does not mean that their color impression is 
identical to that of humans. This is related to the types and numbers of visual 
pigments in the sensory cells in their eyes. They can have two (squirrel) 
different pigments, or three (like humans).

I hope that helps.

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