Animals That Can See Infrared

Believe it or not, there are animals out there who can see infrared. They can’t see the same spectrum of colors that we can, but they can see some amazing things that are invisible to us. This infrared vision allows them to do some pretty incredible things that we can only imagine. They can, for example, detect movement from a considerable distance and even see in the dark. Some animals use their infrared vision to hunt prey, while others use it for protection. Animals have adapted to see infrared light. Some of these animals, like moths and snakes, use specialized photoreceptor cells that only respond to infrared light. Others may be able to see through their eyes or noses directly, while some insects may just be able to sense it on their bodies.

Animals That Can See Infrared

Infrared Radiation

These are electromagnetic radiation that is not detectable by the naked eye. It falls just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and it’s what gives objects a heat signature. This is why you see infrared in security cameras and night vision goggles—because it lets you see in the dark. And it’s also why animals that can see infrared are so fascinating.

How Animals See Infrared Light

Essentially, animals that can see infrared light have a higher-than-average number of rods in their eyes. These rods allow them to detect infrared light, which is beyond the range of human vision.

So what can these animals see that we can’t? For starters, they can see far better in the dark than we can. They can also navigate their way through murky waters and identify prey that’s hidden in the shadows. Pretty amazing, right? There’s a whole world out there that we’re just starting to understand!

Animals With The Ability To See Infrared Light

  • Snakes

Infrared light is visible to snakes. This means that snakes have a sixth sense, which allows them to hunt in total darkness. For this process to work, snakes have what is known as a pit organ on their tongues. This pit organ has openings that allow them to detect heat signatures from its prey and other objects in its environment.

  • Moths

Moths, like some other insects and animals, can see infrared light. They can see it in both the ultraviolet range and the near-infrared part of the spectrum. This means that moths can see us!

Moths use their ability to detect infrared to spot predators and prey as well as to find food sources at night or during inclement weather. Some even use this kind of vision while they’re in flight!

  • Rats

Rats have a unique third eyelid that helps them see infrared light. The rat’s PIR receptors are sensitive to infrared light and help the rats see in the dark. Rats are more active at night, so you will probably see them scurrying about in the dark after sunset.

  • Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the animal kingdom’s most tenacious survivors, but they have a secret weapon: infrared vision. It may seem like cockroaches are barely able to see anything in the daylight, but their eyes can detect infrared light. This is particularly useful for them because it lets them find food and avoid predators by detecting heat—and scorpions can see infrared too!

  • Scorpions

Scorpions have a pair of compound eyes on the top of their head, allowing them to see in the infrared spectrum. 

Scorpions also use their special ability—the sensing of thermal radiation—to help with navigation and hunting. With this ability, they can sense temperatures as low as 10°C (50°F) up to 50°C (120°F), allowing them to navigate easily in dark conditions without bumping into things or falling over objects that might be in their way. They do this by using sensors called hemispherical pit organs on the top side of their heads which pick up temperature changes based on how much light reflects off an object’s surface area at any given moment in time.

Benefits of Seeing Infrared Light

For one, it helps animals stay hidden from predators. By being able to see the heat signatures of other animals, they can camouflage themselves better and avoid being seen.

In the wild, being able to see infrared could mean the crucial distinction between life and death. But it’s not just animals in the wild that benefit from infrared vision. Domestic animals also reap the rewards.

Think about it—if you’re a dog or a cat, being able to see in the dark can be a huge advantage. It means you can explore your environment more confidently, and you’re less likely to get into trouble. Plus, it just makes life a little bit easier, doesn’t it?

Interesting Facts About Infrared-Sensing Animals

  • In mammals, infrared vision is the result of a thermal imaging process, which detects infrared radiation.
  • This ability helps animals locate prey and predators in low-light conditions.
  • Some animals that can see infrared light include deer, camels, dogs, and cats.
  • Many animals use infrared vision to regulate their body temperature because they can detect heat signatures from other creatures or objects.


So, what animals can see infrared? Quite a number can! From snakes to tigers to owls, these creatures have evolved to take advantage of the infrared spectrum and use it to their advantage. Infrared is an important part of the natural world, and by learning more about the animals that can see it, we can gain a better understanding of the world around us.

FAQs About Animals and Infrared Light

  • Do all animals see infrared light?

No, not all animals are capable of seeing infrared light. Infrared-sensitive receptors in the eyes of some animals, such as snakes, enable them to see in the dark.

  • How do animals use infrared light?

Animals use infrared light for a variety of purposes. Some animals, like deer, use it to find food in the dark. Others, such as bats, utilize it to navigate in the dark. And still others, like snakes, use it to track prey.

Animals That Can See Infrared

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