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Thread: Do snakes see in colour?

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    Do snakes see in colour?

    Is there any evidence out there to prove whether snakes see in colour or black and white?

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    i think their vision is quite different...i think I read somewhere they see heat...like in infra red

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    Snakes use a combination of infrared vision (developed in the trigeminal nerve), variable (by species) visual acuity and color detection, limited eye mobility, and chemosensation to find prey and recognize features in their environment (including their keepers).
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    they dont see like we do......you have to give them signals so they know it is you....i talk a lot and say the same things to them so the vibrations they pic up from me are the same. I always let them snif my hand with their tongue (like a dog) then I touch them then move them or whatever so they have plenty of warning to work out it is me...so far it has worked well and keeps them really calm. I know I sound crazy but it works for me

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    I think they do as I've read that some picky snakes will only take fir instance white mice instead of black mice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    I think they do as I've read that some picky snakes will only take fir instance white mice instead of black mice.
    Black vs white doesn't exactly prove they see colour...........
    Keeper and breeder of various geckos, small dragons, Broad-banded Sand Swimmers, RHD Womas and Jungle Carpets

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldmember View Post
    Black vs white doesn't exactly prove they see colour...........
    Yeah true, maybe they can only see in shades rather than objects in colour.

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    They're eye sight is pretty good, though. And from what I have observed, a python's eyesight seem to be better than a brown snake's. When I did my training we had to be within striking distance for the brown snake to even respond to our movement. Pythons seem to follow one from further distances - perhaps their heatpits help here but I think their evil, following stare is awesome. Good eyes!
    Kathy

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    My Bredli thinks i look good in red......she only ever tries to 'kiss' me if i have red on. But in all seriousness......i dont know what a snake see's, i hope to come back as a snake in my next life though, so perhaps i will find out then!
    *Survived Hell*
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    I think they do as I've read that some picky snakes will only take fir instance white mice instead of black mice.
    Those are just the racist snakes - it's nothing to do with their colour vision.

    Snakes (especially pythons) are certainly well adapted to hunting in all light conditions - so there has to be a degree of complexity there to allow for night time and in some cases daytime hunting amongst pythons.

    But there must also be variation amongst species, especially those lacking heat pits (such as BHPs etc).

    On the whole - snakes generally don't actively hunt their prey over long distances, even the night tigers at Undara just wait in trees with a hit and hope attitude which seems to pay off almost every time (though the numbers of bats are so high - how could they miss?).

    In humans, those with colour blindness usually had better night sight - so if this is true, it may be beneficial for snakes that predominantly hunt at night, that they'd be colour blind...

    None of what I have said above was read off the internet or backed up with any science - this is purely just a thought and opinion - and if you go back to the rose coloured glasses thread of the past - some might think it's more a philosophical question than a scientific one.
    Give a man a fish and feed him for a day...
    Teach a man to fish and feed him for a life time (or until fish become extinct, which ever occurs first)

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    They have cone receptors (well at least some species) so yes they almost certainly see in colour.

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    Davies et al. 2009. Shedding light on serpent sight: The visual pigments of henophidian snakes. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 23, pp. 7519-7525.

    Sillman et al. 2001. Retinal photoreceptors and visual pigments in Boa constrictor imperator. Journal of experimental zoolog, 290, pp. 359-365.

    Both of these papers show snakes have sensitivity in ultraviolet wavelengths and dichromatic colour vision. Sillman paper concludes that the photopic visual resolution of boa constrictors is similar to that of the cat, although far less than a human, but still able to form highly useful images.

    There is little study done on vision in snakes so care must be taken in generalizing this data across species.
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