Can Beagles See In The Dark?
If you’ve ever stumbled out of bed in the middle of the night, and noticed that it seems like your beagle rarely has any issue navigating the same landscape, it can’t help but bring up the question: Can beagles see in the dark?
Yes. Beagles can see in the dark — in fact, their vision is actually superior to humans in low-light scenarios. Didn’t expect that, did you?
Let’s bring to light the reason why.
What is Vision?
Vision is what is allowing you to read these words on your digital device.
Humans + beagles alike: It allows us to immerse ourselves visually into the world around us. It is made up of these following variables:
- ability to light and motion
- visual perspective
- field of view
- depth perception
- visual acuity
- color vision
What Components Are Responsible For Beagle’s Vision?
Vision is created by the collective effort of various components in the eyes and the brain, working in synchronicity. The eye components are:
- Cornea: The outermost layer of the eye. It bends light that enters the eye.
- Pupil: The black dot that acts as the proverbial gateway for light into the eye . Its expansion is triggered in dim light, and contraction in bright light. Its control is managed by the iris.
- Iris: Oh, what pretty eyes they have. This component is responsible for your eye color. As aforementioned, the iris is the muscle in control of the size of your pupil and the amount of light that enters your eye.
- Lens: Just like a camera, it works with the cornea to focus light that arrives to the eye, providing the image in front of you to be in sharp focus. The lens is located behind the iris and pupil.
- Retina: At the back of the eye, the retina is a layer of tissue that converts the light entering into the eye into electrical impulses. This is multilayered in itself, as this is where the light sensitive cells; rods and cones, are located. The rods enable vision in dimly light environments and help detect motion, whereas the cones provide detailed sight and color perception.
- Optic nerve: This component connects the retina with the brain. The optic nerve emits the electrical signals formed in the retina and sends them to the brain. Once there, they are identified as images.
- Tears: This is definitely nothing to cry about. Tears keep your eyes moist and assist with focusing clearly. They also protect the eye from irritation and infection.
How Does A Beagle’s Vision Differ From Humans?
Beagles have a disproportionately higher amount of rods, allowing them to see well in the dark. In addition to their superior night vision, beagles have better motion visibility than we humans have. Accordingly, since their retinas have only a fraction of the cones that humans do, approximately 1/10th the amount, they do not observe colors as accurately as we do.
Flicker Fusion Frequency (FFF) (or threshold) is another factor that influences their visual abilities. FFF is the frequency at which flickering light no longer appears to flicker (meaning it appears as a constant illumination). It’s like the equivalent of a computer display’s frame rate.
They have eyes that are set at a 20 degree angle, unlike humans whose are set straight forward. This difference of angle increases their field of view and therefore increases their peripheral vision.
The downside of this is that the increased peripheral vision, compromises their amount of binocular vision. Binocular vision occurs where the field of view of each eye overlaps. Binocular vision is necessary for depth perception. Due to the placement of their eyes being wider from each other, there is intrinsically less overlap, resulting in less depth perception. Beagles depth perception is best when they are looking straight ahead.
We’re all familiar with humans with perfect eyesight are considered to have 20/20 vision, right? That simply means that we can decipher letters or objects at a distance of 20 feet. Beagles typically have 20/75 vision, meaning they must be 20 feet from an object to see it as well as a human standing 75 feet away. Interestingly enough, some breeds have visual acuity closer in line to humans. Labrador retrievers are a prime example — makes sense that they are frequently used as seeing-eye dogs.
Think about it: If you’re standing on a spot silently across the field from your dog. They likely will have no idea it is you visually, unless they saw you walking toward there initially. Their trigger will be either motions, smells or sounds they equate to you. He’ll recognize you when you do some sort of motion particular to yourself. Beagles like a moving target, as they observe moving objects much better than stationary objects. Motion sensitivity is an integral aspect of canine vision. Beagle owners should take into this fact into account when you are training their pupster, especially if they’ve graduated to learning silent cues. Broad sweeping motions will register well with them.
Why Do Beagles Eyes Glow In The Dark?
Ah, yes. That’s actually another secret weapon that beagles have in their arsenal allowing them to see in the dark. It’s located in their eyes and it’s called the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum acts as a mirror within the eye, reflecting back the light that enters it, and giving the retina another opportunity to register the light.
But wait there’s more! The tapetum even amplifies the incoming light through a phenomenon called fluorescence, which is what you’re observing when you notice their eyes seemingly glowing at times. The fluorescence adds to the incoming light’s brightness and alters the color slightly, to bring the color to a wavelength that their eyes are most sensitive to and will best detect. This results in beagles having eyesight, that is approximately 5 times more sensitive to light than ours. How cool is that?