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Posted: 11:16 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

Cats, dogs have 'superpower' vision, study says

By Nathan Giannini

Video transcript provided by

Have you ever thought your cat or dog knows something you don’t?

A new study suggests you might be right! Researchers in London believe your pets see in ultraviolet, meaning they can see things you can’t. (Via: Flickr / FastPhive)

Cats and dogs aren’t alone in this — many insects, birds, fish and some amphibians and reptiles are also known to have UV-vision. But it was previously thought most mammals didn’t. So what do these animals use it for?

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According to LiveScience: “Bees and other insects use it to see colors or patterns on plants that can direct them to nectar. Rodents use it to follow urine trails. And reindeer may use ultraviolet light to see polar bears, which, in visible light, blend in with the snow.”

Human eyes have a lens that removes the UV light. One researcher guessed it’s because humans need to see in detail — it’s thought UV light makes images appear blurry. (Via Wikimedia Commons / ROTFLOLEB)

Skiers wear yellow goggles that block UV light for just that reason. (Via: Flickr /Jonas B)

Researchers hope this data will help them better understand why animals act the way they do. (Via: Flickr / matt512)

The study was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.