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Wildlife and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

For a while, I've been interested in capturing photographs of nocturnal animals and insects. This started with my hamster, who always gets up and runs after I go to bed. So I've caught him a few times on video using my Sony Handycam with NightShot infrared illumination. Question is, could he see the near infrared light? (I still don't know.)

Since then, I've wondered what wildlife could see what part of the electromagnetic spectrum. (I'd like to make night photos of my goldfishes, too!)

Most nocturnal animals have highly sensitive eyes. So most of them are quite inactive during the day to avoid over-stimulation. It would be a bad idea to shine a bright infrared light at the subject if it could see it. It'd be like aiming a flood light at people.

In this note, I've gathered some wildlife and the spectrum they could see. Please do update this page with wildlife that you know about.

Far Infrared

  • Snakes in the pit viper family (i.e. rattlesnakes)

Near Infrared


  • Bats from Central and South American that live on the nectar from flowers
  • Bee (i.e. bumblebee, honey bee)
  • Diurnal Birds
  • Pigmented Rats


Most wildlife can see visible light, so it's rather pointless to clutter this page with them. However, please list wildlifes that CANNOT see visible light in this section.


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