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How do animals see the world?

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An eye-opening science experiment


Cardboard, scissors, egg carton or Petit Filou type pots, skewer or knitting needle.


Cut a piece of card about 30cm long and 9cm wide. Cut a small arch about halfway on the card to fit over your nose. Put the card to your face. Your nose must fit in the arch and the card must touch your forehead. Bend the sides of the card slightly away from your head and flex the ends so that what you can see is clearly in focus. You can now see from either side of your head at the same time. This is how animals with eyes to the sides of their heads see (horses, rabbits, etc). This lets them see nearly 360 degrees, as well as far above their head.

Cut two egg holders from the egg carton, or use two Petit Filou yoghurt pots (be careful there are no sharp edges where pots have been snapped apart). Using a skewer or knitting needle, make a hole in the bottom of each, about 0.5cm across, making sure the holes are a little off centre. Put one over each eye, making sure the holes point in different directions. Some animals, such as chameleons, see in different directions at the same time. This is so they can watch for danger with one eye and look out for food with the other.

A fly sees 200 images per second. A TV screen shows 24 pictures each second so a fly watching television would see it as a series of still pictures with darkness in between. For a fly's eye view, flicker your eyelids very fast.

Humans have eyes in the front of their heads. This gives us binocular vision and depth perception which was vital for an animal that once swung through trees.


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