Science Questions

Can bulls see red?

Sat, 14th Oct 2006

Part of the show Science of Sight, Eye Diseases and Animal Vision

Question

Les in Peterborough asked:

Can bulls see red?

Answer

Yes, bulls can see red but they probably can't distinguish it from green. They only have one visual pigment in that part of the spectrum, which means that they can distinguish blue from other colours, but they can't distinguish red from green. They see the world like a red-green colour deficient person. So waving a red rag at a bull isn't a problem because it's red, but because it's moving. They're responding to the movement rather than the red, although they can still see the colour. They will just get confused between red and green rags.

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