How far can a Polar Bear See – Polar Bear Eyesight

Eyesight of Polar Bears appears to be same as ours which means that they are able to see as far as we can see. So how much far can we see usually depends upon the size of the object and the amount of light coming from it. We are able to see galaxies 2.6 million light-years away and while on earth surface we are able to see till the horizon though our visual acuity is far beyond the horizon. As the earth surface curves out of sight after 5 km (2.6 miles), so we can see only up to 5 km on the earth surface. The same is true for a polar bear. Though we may share the similar eyesight with polar bears but there are some extraordinary qualities in their eyes which help them to adapt and survive in the arctic region. Let us discuss in more detail as how far can a polar bear see  both in daylight as well as in darkness and what other extraordinary vision capabilities does a polar bear has.

How far can a Polar Bear See

How far can a Polar Bear See

  • Polar Bears can see as far as humans can see i.e. on flat earth surface up to the horizon which up till 5 km (2.6 miles).
  • So if you are able to see a polar bear then definitely it can also see you but naturally it will feel your presence instantly through smell rather than through vision. It relies more on its sense of smell and hearing to identify its prey rather than on its vision.
  • As it relies more on the other two senses of hearing and smell so it is very hard for the scientist to test the visual acuity of polar bear as it responds more to its smell and hearing than its sight.
  • So visual acuity in polar bears have not been identified completely. There has been a myth that they have poor eye sight. As it relies more on its other senses does not necessarily mean that their eye sight is poor. Reports from Russian scientists suggest that their vision is not good but they do have both day and night vision. On the other hand some scientists have observed that polar bears were able to spot them from a very long distance.

Snow Carnivore Wildlife Wild Polar Bear Arctic

Polar Bear Eyesight

Do polar bears have good eye sight

  • Yes polar bear have good eye sight similar to that of us. Like all other bears, the eyes of polar bear face forward and enough distance apart enabling it to see on its sides as well as good binocular vision.
  • Polar Bears eyes are spherical in shape and have a circular pupil.

Polar Bear Snow Blindness

  • Their eyes also have a special membrane which protect its eyes from the ultraviolet radiation from the sun as well as those reflected by the ice. These membranes act like sun glasses protecting their eyes and helping them avoid the snow blindness.
  • Snow blindness occurs due to the reflection of ultraviolet light from the snow  into the eye. This burns the surface of the eye.

Can Polar Bears See in Water

  • Polar bear eyes only enable them to see through the air and not in water.
  • It is because their pupil is circular instead of spherical. In marine mammals which are able to see under water usually have spherical eye lenses with shortest focal length.

What is the eye color of a polar bear

  • There is no variation in the color of the eye. The iris is brown in color.

How far can a Polar Bear See - Polar Bear Eyesight

What colors do Polar Bear See

  • Unlike humans who are trichromatic vision polar bears are dichromatic vision. The eyes of a Polar bear has two light sensitive cells called cones. One cone is sensitive to short wave length of light which enable it to see the blue-violet light while the other cone is sensitive to long wavelength of light which enable it to see yellow light. We humans have additional cone besides these two which enables us to see the green light.

Do polar bears have night vision – Can a polar bear see in the dark

  • As compared to our own eyesight, polar bears do have night vision due to additional number of photoreceptor cells call rods.
  • There are many rod cells (photoreceptor cells in the retina which helps to see in low light) in the eyes of polar bear which enable it to have a good vision at night. This extra ordinary night vision is essential for polar bear survival especially during the long nights of winter. So comparing it your vision at night, a polar bear will be able to see you more clearly than you can see it, however, it would have identified you first by your smell long before it actually sees you.

Polar Bear Cubs Eyes

  • Infant polar bears do have as good vision as the adults polar bears. Like dogs they are born with no vision at all. They open their eyes when they are a bit older.

How far can a Polar Bear See – Video

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