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Can tortoises see in color?

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by KenG, Jun 11, 2010.

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  1. KenG

    KenG Guest

    My wife planted two new hibiscus plants a few months ago, & yesterday we gave our Sulcatas a large batch of yellow, white, & pink blossoms. They immediately ate the yellow blossoms they always get, but ignored the new white & pink ones - they actually picked through them.:(

    I wasn't aware that tortoises could see in color, but this sure makes me think otherwise! And why would a tortoise care what color a hibiscus blossom is, anyway??
  2. PeanutbuttER

    PeanutbuttER New Member

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    I'm pretty sure they can see in color. Seeing in color can actually make a pretty big difference in whether something looks edible or not. For example, do you remember when they had the green and purple ketchup a couple years back (I think it had something to do with the Shrek movie, but I don't remember)? Turns out that eating ketchup that isn't red is so weird that it actually makes you want to puke. I think torts have a preference for which colors look better to them which is probably defined by which colors they're used to.
  3. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer

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    I think Pb is right. Mine have always shown more interest in red, orange or yellow stuff. I bet one of our anatomy experts here has the low down on rods and cones in tortoise eyes.
  4. DeanS

    DeanS Well-Known Member

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    Given that tortoises have a round pupil, it's likely they see color. What makes it absolute is that when they're offered colored flowers or fruits, they spot it from a good distance and make a beeline right for it.
  5. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

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    Bob prefers red and orange flowers and my Rose of Sharon are the white ones with red centers and he loves them. He leaves yellow blooms alone...
    Any woman with red painted toenails can tell you that Sulcata can see in color! Ouch!
  6. preston897

    preston897 New Member

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    me and my girlfriend were out a a guys house about a week ago and she had shoes that had pink and bright blue on them. she also had pink fingernails. he was trying to eat the shoes and her nails
  7. TortieLuver

    TortieLuver Active Member

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    Mine always go right for the bright colors like red/orange/bright pink.
  8. bighog85

    bighog85 New Member

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    They do as long as they have good full spectrum lighting. If an area is to dark or doesn't have good quality lights it will just look like a dark blob to them. Reptiles see a much wider range of the spectrum than we do, which is why we need to provide good UVB-A lighting. Like the Reptisun 2.0 bulb, it is basically made to provide more visible wavelengths to them. This in turn affects mood and behavior because they can see more and are more active.
  9. Annieski

    Annieski Member

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    That's for humans,too. That's why I keep the lighting upstairs "dim" No one sees the dust.
  10. bighog85

    bighog85 New Member

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    Your right that is true for humans, but reptiles see much more of the spectrum than we do so that is why I emphasized good quality full spectrum.
  11. Annieski

    Annieski Member

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    I was just "adding" a little housekeeping humor not ?ing your reply.Sorry
  12. chairman

    chairman Member

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    I know a person that is color blind and if you tell him that he is looking at a red thing and a green thing he can pick out which is which. However, if you don't give any clues about the colors of objects, he can see a difference in them, but can't say which color is which. So, extending that to torts, even if they can't see in color, certain colors may reflect light in more attractive ways than other colors.
    I had a pet rabbit that preferred orange, and I'm fairly certain that rabbits are supposed to be color blind. So maybe it is an herbivore thing?
  13. KenG

    KenG Guest

    So it seems to be the consensus that tortoises can see in color, & that all of mine just ate what they recognized. I still don't understand what would be different about a hibiscus blossom that's a new color. Should smell exactly the same, & Maggie posted that her tort Bob eats them (altho' she did say he doesn't eat yellow blossoms).

    Oh, well, they're pretty in our yard even if they don't get eaten!:p
  14. bighog85

    bighog85 New Member

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    Lol, oh I know. I guess it just made me want to be more specific. No worries!
  15. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    mine give the sniff test before eating as well..
  16. luvsulcatas

    luvsulcatas New Member

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    Fred will mow anyone down who gets in the way of his yellow and orange nasturtiums. Gang way! LOL
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