Are Black Bears Color Blind? ( 9 Questions Answered!)

After gaining interest in the behaviors of black bears, you may wonder about their sight and color relations.

If you’ve been wondering whether black bears are color-blind, here’s what you need to know:

No, black bears see color. These bears can also differentiate between different colors. Black bears may see colors in detail almost the same way as humans.

There are several myths surrounding black bears and their capability to see colors. In this article, I will discuss some common questions about black bear’s eyesight!

Let’s continue reading below:

Table of Contents

What Colors Can Black Bears See?

Black bears have good vision and can see many colors. Some of the main colors that these bears see include:

  • Red
  • orange
  • yellow
  • green 
  • blue.

Despite seeing several colors, blue is like the black bear’s favorite. These bears can spot a blue color from even a long distance.

Green is also a color that is relatively close to black bears. These animals can spot green even more than some humans.

When you place the blue and orange in front of a black bear, the blue will be more visible than the orange.

A black bear standing in the forest

Sometimes, it is advisable not to camp with green or blue tents. Black bears can detect the two colors from a distance and approach to attack.

Apart from green and blue, Black bears can see most of all the other colors as well. The only difference is that these bears cannot perceive colors other than blue and green.

How Do Black Bears See Color?

Black bears see color due to the presence of photoreceptors in the retina. The retina of the black bears’ eyes has cone cells that allow these mammals to see color.

The cone cells are responsible for color vision. The brain of a black bear perceives a range of colors when the cone cells become sensitive to different wavelengths of light.

When the light focuses on the retina, it enters the eyes and activates the cone cells. The black bear’s brain converts the signals from the cones into different colors based on the wavelength.

Cone cells are responsible for short, medium, and long wavelengths of light.

Short light wavelength corresponds to blue and green, medium corresponds to yellow, and long wavelength of light corresponds to orange and red.

The black bear’s brain will perceive the color as blue when the short wavelength of light stimulates the cone cells. The black bears may see yellow when the medium wavelength of light stimulates the cone cells.

These bears may see red when the long wavelength of light stimulates the cone cells. These mammals may see white when the short, medium, and long wavelength of light stimulates cone cells at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do Black Bears See Red?

Yes, black bears see red, but it may not be the same way humans see it. These mammals may be unable to distinguish between the shades and intensity of some colors. 

Therefore, the black bears may not see red clearly.

Do Black Bears See Blue?

Yes, black bears can see blue. These animals’ color vision seems to be super sensitive when it comes to blue. Blue is a short wavelength of light than the rest.

Therefore, black bears can see blue more clearly than other colors.

Do Black Bears See Green?

Yes, black bears can see green as well. Green is a short wavelength color that is clear and easy to see. Black bears’ eyes are also more sensitive to green color.

A black bear eating green leaves

Do Black Bears See Orange?

Yes, black bears can see orange. These mammals see orange but not clear, as they might see other colors with short-wavelength light. 

Orange is a color that results from long-wavelength light, and black bears might not see clearly as humans.

Can Black Bears See Hunters Orange?

Orange is noticeable to black bears. Any orange clothing may be dangerous when it comes to hunters’ safety. The black bears may notice any orange color from a distance and make an approach.

These mammals are less sensitive when it comes to long-wavelength colors. However, the black bears will still spot the orange color.

If a hunter wearing orange gets close enough, the results may even be worse. Black bears have the capability to spot orange color even more when nearer.

Do Black Bears See Only Black and White?

No, black bears do not only see black and white. Several tests show that black bears do see colors. The receptors in these mammals’ eyes enable them to perceive different colors.

It is a myth that black bears do see black and white.

What Colors Attracts Black Bears?

Blue and shades of green are the colors that may attract black bears the most. Yellow may also cause some attraction to the black bears but on a minimal level.

Final Thoughts

Black bears see several colors, meaning these animals are not color-blind. However, the black bears might not pick some colors accurately as you do.

Some colors, such as green and blue, can be clearer to black bears than others.

The full idea about black bears and their relation to color may make you wonder about their fur color. For example, are black bears always black, or do they have other shades on them?

Read our article Are Black Bears Always Black?