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Do bears have very poor eyesight?

Bears actually can see fairly well at least as well as humans. Polar bears have the best vision with special adaptations that allow them to see
underwater and to filter snow glare. The eyes of an American black bear are small, round, widely spaced, and forward facing. American black bears
have color vision and seem particularly sensitive to blue and green wavelengths. They may even be sensitive to red if this is true, then black bears
would have the same color vision that humans do. The ability to see colors probably helps them find food, since much of their diet consists of colored
berries and fruits. They also have binocular vision that allows for good depth perception. However, they are nearsighted, so they have difficulty
distinguishing objects at a distance. Nearsightedness probably is an advantage as they forage close to the ground, and it also is responsible for their
ability to see moving objects far better than stationary ones. Cubs are born with blue eyes which change to brown during their first year (except
albinos, which lack any color pigment at all). Finally, a bear's eyes are reflective and mirror the moonlight. Like most nocturnal animals, bears have a
reflective layer, called the tarpetum lucidum, lining the back of the eyeball. This layer reflects light back through the retina, allowing the light to
stimulate the rods a second time, this improving night vision.
How well can bears hear?
It is often difficult to determine the answer to such a question because we are not able to test an animal's hearing in the same manner we would a
human's. It is believed that black bears hear much better than humans, probably in the ultrasonic range. It is interesting to note, though, that the
structure of a bear's ear is unique compared to that of its fellow carnivores. The middle ear consists of a balloon-shaped, bony structure that forms a
resonating chamber around the ear drum. These structures are call the auditory bullae and they increase hearing sensitivity. This balloon-shaped
structure is formed by the fusion of two bones the entotympanic and the ectotympanic. In most carnivores, the entotympanic bone is larger and
forms most of the chamber wall. In bears, this is reversed. The entotympanic is reduced and is actually invisible when viewed from the outside, and
the ectotympanic becomes more prominent. Whether this increases or decreases hearing ability is still unclear.
Is it true that a bear's sense of smell is 7 times greater than that of a bloodhound?
Indeed it is. There is perhaps no other animal with a keener sense of smell. Bears rely on their sense of smell to locate mates, detect and avoid danger
in the form of other bears and humans, identify cubs, and FIND FOOD. Although the region of the brain devoted to the sense of smell is average in
size, the area of nasal mucous membrane in a bear's head is one hundred times larger than in a human's. This gives a bear a sense of smell that is 7
times greater than a bloodhound's. In addition, they have an organ called a Jacobson's organ, in the roof of the mouth, that further enhances their
sense of smell.
Here are some accounts of how truly well a bear can smell:
"A black bear in California was once seen to travel upwind three miles in a straight line to
reach the carcass of a dead deer."
". . . male polar bears march in a straight line, over the tops of pressure ridges of uplifted ice . . .
up to 40 miles to reach a prey animal they have detected."
"A bear has been known to detect a human scent more than fourteen hours after the person passed along the trail."
"A male can detect which way a breeding female is traveling just by sniffing her tracks."

Quotes are from The Great Bear Almanac by Gary Brown

Bears use this keen sense of smell to communicate with each other. By leaving their scent on trees and vegetation, they are broadcasting their
presence to other bears that may be in the area.

Do dogs sense things differently than humans do? Well, yes and no. Dogs share the same basic senses with us: they see, hear, touch, smell and taste.
But the level of their senses is different an important distinction when youre trying to figure out just what your dog is doing.
Sight: It was once thought that dogs were color-blind only able to see shades of black and white with some grey, but scientific studies have
found thats not true. Dogs can see in color ranging from blues and greens to greys and crmes, and of course, black and white. Its been estimated
that humans can distinguish somewhere between 7 and 10 million different colors. (We dont even have names for that many colors!)
But dogs have it all over humans in detecting motion thats one reason they can detect a cat up a tree at a much greater distance than you can! And
their night vision is typically better than ours dogs have an additional reflective layer in the eye called the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light
back into the receptor cells of the eye, which not only increases their night vision, but gives them that spooky appearance of eyes glowing in the dark.
Hearing: When your dog is barking like crazy in the middle of the night, dont just assume hes lonely and wants you to get up and keep him
company. He may be listening to something that you cant hear, thats extremely upsetting to him like a burglar breaking in your basement
window. Dogs can hear at four times the distance humans can that means you might hear something from a 100 yards away your dog could hear
from a quarter of a mile away. Their ears are also better designed to gather more of the available sound wave they have 15 different muscles that
move their ears in all directions, plus they can move one ear at a time and independently of the other to absorb even more information!
Touch: Dogs also have a well-developed sense of touch, surprising perhaps under all that fur, although this sense is much less sophisticated than a
humans. Puppies are born with sensory receptors in their faces so they can find mama even if theyre separated before they open their eyes. But they
also can sense touch all over their bodies, just as humans can. One reason your dog flops down on the couch next to you and tries to snuggle up on a
hot day (or any other day for that matter!) is because he likes the comfort of feeling that youre right there!
Smell: We cant even come close to our dogs ability to smell things. Its been estimated that a dogs sense of smell is 100,000 times more powerful
than a humans. Scientists think that humans have about 40 million olfactory receptors, versus 2 billion for your dog! Thats part of the reason dogs
make such good trackers, and can trace scents across all sorts of distractions like across roadways or through dense woods. Dogs also use their
sense of smell as a communications tool when theyre running around the park with their nose to the ground, sniffing everything in sight, theyre
actually reading the calling cards of everyone dogs, humans, cats, squirrels, and anyone or anything else, that has been there before him. Which is
why he may not pay attention to you when you first get to the park hes trying to see if any of his buddies have been there before him!
Taste: Just as with humans, taste is closely linked to the sense of smell the main difference is humans wont eat something that smells bad; while
dogs are the opposite the smellier the better. Dogs will gulp first and ask questions later. While humans many times wont eat something that
doesnt look appealing, let alone doesnt smell good, dogs are more concerned with smell, than taste. They frequently gobble down food before they
have time to chew it, let alone taste it. But thats ok its why when we clean out our refrigerators our dogs think its time for treats.
The Nose: A dog interprets the world predominantly by smell, whereas human predominantly by sight. Even though a dogs brain is one tenth the
size of a humans brain, the part that controls smell is 40 times larger than in humans. A human has about 5 million scent glands whereas dogs have
125 million to 300 million (depending on breed), meaning their sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000,000 times better than humans!
Have you ever wondered why their noses are wet? Its because the mucus on a dogs nose actually helps it capture scent particles. Dog noses are so
sensitive that service dogs are even being trained (by using smell) to help detect blood sugar levels in diabetic persons.
The Eyes: A common question people ask is if dogs are colorblind. The answer is, not really. Studies have shown that dogs do not only see in shades
of black and white, but see in colors of various shades of blues and yellows as well. Dogs can see better at dawn and dusk than humans, however
humans can see objects at a distance much better than dogs. Humans can also see things better close up than dogs. Dogs do have the advantage on
recognizing moving objects, giving them better ability to spot and hunt prey.
The Ears: Puppies are born deaf and cannot hear until they are 21 days old. By the time their sense of hearing has developed, they can already hear 4
times the distance of a human with normal hearing. Dogs can hear higher pitched sounds and can detect a frequency range of 67-45,000 Hz,
compared to a human range of 64-23,000 Hz.
Dogs have 18 muscles in their ears allowing them to move them in the direction of the sound. Perked ear dogs (such as German Shepherds) usually
have better hearing than floppy ear dogs.

Cats have natural instincts to stalk their prey, trace the smell of an unfamiliar object, and acknowledge their weaknesses so they can better prepare
themselves from danger. Cats have great senses which help them scout out their surroundings, identify friend or foe and detect objects in a way that
are far beyond what humans are capable of.
Now we will put humans on a test against our opponents, cats, to see who have better senses. I am sure many of you already know the answer, but
please read on :-).
Cats have incredible hearing skills. In fact, they can hear sounds that even dogs fail to hear. With 2 satellite dish shaped ears, cats range of hearing
goes up to ultrasonic which is superbly high. Sound is measured by vibrations. The number of vibrations a sound produces per second is called
Frequency with a unit measurement named hertz. Cats can hear 100,000 hertz as oppose to their canine counterpart that is receptive to a range from
35,000 to 40,000 hertz. Compare to cats, humans are totally out of their league with a paltry 20,000 hertz, trailing far behind.
Cats score 1.
Cats have a fascinating sense of smell. They use their smell to sniff out the whereabouts of a mouse or food smidgens hidden underneath the fridge.
Their nose is extremely sensitive to scents because there are approximately 200 million odor-sensitive cells in the nostrils which make cats an adept
sniffer. With only 5 million odor-sensitive cells in humans, our ability to smell is pale in comparison. Cats do not only utilize their olfactory on
locating food, but also use it as a medium to communicate. Cats have scent glands on the head and paws. Whenever they rub their head or paws
against an object, it is as if they are leaving their business card for other felines to recognize and translate.
Cats score another one.
Whiskers are an important apparatus for cats to get around. Did you know that besides the whiskers grown on their face, cats have whiskers on the
backs of their front legs as well? The whiskers aid them in navigating in narrow or shallow areas and tell them whether the area is big enough for
their body to get through. The whiskers work as antenna, approximating the measurement of a tight opening, giving them an idea whether they can
squeeze through it. This ability provides them good judgment before their curiosity carry them away. Certain cats have short whiskers or even born
without any whiskers such as Sphynx. The absence of whiskers does not impede them from performing their normal tasks, but rather they are as agile
and nimble as other cats that have long whiskers. Humans, on the other hand, are not equipped with such natural ability to recognize their
surroundings in such cognizant fashion.
Another point for cats.
We all know that cats are persnickety about their food. Dogs on the other hand, would eat almost any treats you offer them. The reason that cats are
fastidious eaters is because they only have 473 taste buds whereas humans have around 9,000 taste buds. This explains why cats rely so heavily on
their smell when it comes to food.
Humans finally break their 0, score 1.
Cats have superior vision. They can see things in a panoramic view due to their ability to dilate their pupils. Their excellent peripheral vision helps
them capture the movement of a mouse or a bird in a much wider range than humans. However, like the humans, cats have a blind spot too. It is
situated 4 -5 inches in front of their face, so sometimes they may not see the toy that is placed right underneath their chin. However, their whiskers
will come in handy in case like this.
Final score goes to cats.
Cats WIN!!!
It is not surprising that cats beat us easily, with a score of 4 vs. 1. They are wonderful and intelligent animals plus cute to be around.

Octopus and their Senses

The Octopus has a very unique body and use of their senses. This all part of what helps them to survive in their environment. The first sense to
mention is their vision. They are able to see very well both during the day and at night. They dont have trouble in the dark waters that are found deep
at the oceans floor.
They have what is called polarized vision which means that different amounts of light coming in. Many experts believe that they have the ability to
actually control the amount of light that comes into them and this is why they can see so well. It is hard to test out that theory though due to finding
ways of measuring the lighting that they can see from the inside outward.
Researchers believe that it is their eyesight that actually allows them to have the control over their pigmentation. What they see is what helps them to
determine what they will blend into. The vision of potential predators will also trigger for them the need to transform themselves to remain
The arms of the Octopus have suction cups on them that are very tiny. In them are highly sensitive feelers that allow them to touch their environment
and to feel sensations from it. The sense of touch they develop from these feelers is amazing. They will feel all around in order to get a good
overview of the area they are in. They want to make sure where they settle and where they look for food is safe for them.
They are able to taste with their suckers as well. This is why they are very picky when it comes to the food sources that they will consume. They have
been observed passing up various types of food due to the fact that they remember the taste wasnt appealing to them. Even when they are very
hungry they would often prefer not to eat then to eat something that they wont like the taste of.
Octopus are able to smell as well due to sensors at the ends of their arms. This is why they are often seen sticking one arm into crevices. They are
being able to smell what could be lurking in that area by doing so. The fact that they are very curious animals is also part of the reason why they rely
upon their sense of smell so much.
They are able to smell predators from quite a distance and that gives them the chance to move to safer locations. The abilities of this particular sense
though do vary based upon the specific species. Some of them are able to smell much better than others. Since their arms are such a valuable part of
their senses, they try to do all they can to protect them. At times though they have to give up one in order to break free from a predator. They do have
the ability to grow it back though.
A sense that the Octopus doesnt rely on is hearing. They dont have any ability to hear at all which is why they also dont use vocalization. They
have no external body parts or internal mechanisms for hearing. Even though they are deaf they still are able to function very well. They more than
make it up with all of the other senses that they have.
The use of senses is very important to the overall survival of the Octopus. The fact that they are also very intelligent allows them to gain even more
from their senses. For example they remember what foods taste good and those that dont. When they are faced with the smell of certain foods they
can all ready tell if it is something they want to pursue or avoid.

Facts about octopuses

The environment and lifestyle of cephalopods means that they need to be capable of complex and flexible behaviour.
As active predators they need to explore, understand and remember their environment and the behaviour of other animals.
Studies have shown that octopuses learn easily, including learning by observation of another octopus.
They can solve problems, as when they remove a plug or unscrew a lid to get prey from a container.
They are the first invertebrates to be seen using tools, such as using coconut shells to hide from potential predators and using rocks and jets
of water in a way that could be classified as tool use.

Common octopuses will collect crustacean shells and other objects to construct fortresses, or "gardens," around their lairs. Other octopuses
carry shells for protection.
The common octopus has a wide array of techniques it uses to avoid or thwart attackers. Its firstand most amazingline of defense is its
ability to hide in plain sight. Using a network of pigment cells and specialized muscles in its skin, the common octopus can almost
instantaneously match the colors, patterns, and even textures of its surroundings. Predators such as sharks, eels, and dolphins swim by
without even noticing it.
They have been found to play with a toy and to have individual responses and individual temperaments, with some scientists believing
they have individual personalities.
All octopuses are venomous, but only the small blue-ringed octopuses are known to be deadly to humans.
There are around 300 recognized octopus species, which is over one-third of the total number of known cephalopod species.
Octopuses have four pairs of arms.
Octopuses have three hearts. Two pump blood through each of the two gills, while the third pumps blood through the body.
When discovered, an octopus will release a cloud of black ink to obscure its attacker's view, giving it time to swim away. The ink even
contains a substance that dulls a predator's sense of smell, making the fleeing octopus harder to track.
Fast swimmers, they can jet forward by expelling water through their mantles. And their soft bodies, with no internal or external skeleton,
can squeeze into impossibly small cracks and crevices where predators can't follow.
The amazing mimic octopuses are capable of changing their body shape to mimic other animals
They also have beaklike jaws that can deliver a nasty bite, and venomous saliva, used mainly for subduing prey.
If all else fails, an octopus can lose an arm to escape a predator's grasp and re-grow it later with no permanent damage.
They have been found to play with a toy and to have individual responses and individual temperaments.

The Giant Pacific Octopus:

Enteroctopus dofleini

Adaptations for Survival

The giant Pacific octopus has developed many adaptations in order for it to survive in its environment. Some of the more interesting adaptations are
described below.

Arms: Like all octopuses, the Pacific octopus has eight arms. The two rear-most arms function as "legs." They are used to push off of the ocean floor,
anchor itself in one place, and crawl over rocks and debris. The other six arms are used as arms are expected to be used. They grab objects, feel
around, and feed the octopus. Every arm contains both radial and longitudinal muscles. This muscle combination makes them very strong. The arms
are able to resist a pull one hundred times the octopuss weight, which is roughly 4,000 pounds. There are no bones in the Pacific octopus's arms, or
its entire body either, which allows the arms to be very flexible. This flexibility is useful and allows the octopus to fit the arms into small crevices.
Suckers: Each arm of the Pacific octopus contains about 280 suckers. The suckers play an important role in both the octopuss sense of touch and
taste. Each sucker is believed to contain thousands of chemical receptors. The rims of the suckers are a particularly sensitive area to touch. It is
expected that a blindfolded octopus could differentiate objects by sense of touch as easily as the octopus could sense an object using its sense of
sight. The suckers are also able to create a suction and grip onto prey or the substrate.

Hectocotylus: This is a reproductive organ found only on the male octopuses. It makes up a male's third right arm. This arm stands out

because it is the only arm that does not contain

the full amount of suckers. The last fifth of the arm, instead, has a ciliated crease running down the center. The terminal portion of the hectocotylus is
called the ligula, which contains erectile tissue. The ligula does not have any chromatophores, however, so males frequently keep it curled up to
maintain their camouflage. More details of the male's use of the hectocotylus can be found on the reproduction page.

Statocyst: The statocyst receptors are used by this octopus to detect angular rotation. They are able to use detect rotation in three planes, at right
angles to each other. This way the octopus determine its bodys orientation in relation to the ocean floor. It uses hair cells, along with gravity, to
complete this task. It may also use these hair cells, along with vibrations, to hear. Octopuses have been found to be most sensitive to lower-
frequency vibrations.

Eyes: Pacific octopuses have very advanced eye structures. They contain many of the parts that human eyes do, including: the iris, the pupil, the lens,
the retina, and the optic nerve. However, the pupil is not a round shape, but is a horizontal slit. When focusing, the octopuss eye moves the lens
forward and backward, instead of altering its curvature like humans. The eye is one of the most important senses to the Pacific octopus. It uses its
sense of vision to choose a mate, find a den, blend in with its environment, and locate prey.

Brain: This invertebrate is a very intelligent creature and has a complete nervous system. Since it does not have many defensive adaptations, it must
use its brain to survive. The intelligence of these octopuses has undergone much research. More information about it can be found here: Intelligence.

Hearts: This octopus has three hearts. They each pump blood through the octopuss closed circulatory system. This system also includes: veins,
arteries and capillaries. Two of the hearts pump blood to the two gills and the third heart pumps blood to the rest of the octopus's body. The blood
also contains the important oxygen-transporting molecule, hemocyanin.

Chromatophores: Camouflage is an important method of defense used by the Pacific octopus. Chromatophores are the pigmentation

sacs that allow octopuses to blend into their surroundings so

flawlessly. Each chromatophore is made up of three different pigment sacs: yellow, red, and brown. The colored appearance of the octopuss skin is
determined by small muscles. These muscles will pull a colored pigment sac to the surface to make that color is visible. When the muscle relaxes, the
pigmentation from that sac goes away. The octopus uses its eyes to judge the color and texture of the camouflage it wants to wear. Working in
conjugation with chromatophores are papillae. These small muscles under the skin are able to form the skin into peaks of varying heights. This
allows the octopus to look rough or smooth, whichever blends in best with its current environment. Finally, males innately know which skin patterns
to flash at females during in the courting process of reproduction.

Mouth: The mouth structure on the Pacific octopus contains many important feeding

adaptations. A beak, which greatly resembles a parrots, is sharp and

used to bite and grasp prey. Inside the beak is a radula. This is a very rough tongue-like structure that contains ribbons of small teeth. The radula is
used to scrape up their prey, often from within the prey's own shell! Salivary glands within the octopuss mouth region contain venom. The venom is
used both to paralyze the prey and begin the octopus's digestion process. The venom is passed out through the salivary papillae. At the end of the
salivary papillae is a set of drill-shaped teeth. These teeth are used to bore holes into the shells of the octopuss prey.

Siphon: The siphon can be found near the base of the octopuss mantle (the round-shaped head/body area.) The siphon is a primary player in the
Pacific octopus's respiration. Water flows into the gill slit, goes past the gills, and is ejected out of the tube-shaped siphon.(A video of this can be
seen here. With the use of quick muscular contractions, the octopus is able to rapidly shoot the water out of the siphon. This allows the octopus to
zoom away, head-first, using jet propulsion. Under the octopuss digestive gland is the ink production gland. The ink is produced here, then stored in
a larger sac, which is near the siphon. On a command, usually triggered by fear, the octopus releases the ink. Before being squirted out, the ink mixes
with mucus. The ink solution is then expelled out of the siphon's opening. This causes the allows the octopus to use jet propulsion and flee in the
opposite direction since the attacker is unable to see through the ink.

Brainy Invertebrate
Brainy Invertebrate
Intelligence originates in the brain and nervous system of the Pacific octopus. Their brains are comprised of 64 lobes and are protected by
cartilaginous craniums. Surprisingly, the brain increases in both size and cell number throughout the octopuss entire life. They also have axial nerve
cords down the center of each arm to carry information to and from the brain. All eight axial nerve cords are connected by a circular nerve cord at the
base of the mantle.
Three-fifths of the organisms nerve cells are located in their arms. Many of these nerve cells are associated with the suckers. Every single sucker has
its own ganglia that connects to the axial nerve cord. These allow each sucker to report accurate touch and taste sensations on its own accord. They
also each sucker the ability to move on its own accord with a lot of dexterity.
In nature, it has been observed that the Pacific octopus travels away from its den to hunt, and then it returns to the same den. This proves that the
octopuses have spatial memory. Octopuses are also able to utilize a working memory. They leave their dens and travel one direction the first day,
then a new direction the second day, a new direction the third, and so on. This hunting style uses the octopuss working memory to remember not
only how to get home, but also where it has hunted previously.
In the lab, Pacific octopuses have undergone tests to study the extent of their intelligence. They have successfully completed mazes, unscrewed jars,
and played with Rubiks cubes, among numerous other tasks. The octopus in the video below is able to quickly and easily open a box containing
food. Pacific octopuses can also been found able to differentiate shapes. This is a greater for the octopus than humans because octopuses are not born
with an automatic shape analyzer area in their brain. Thus, their ability to do so the shapes is due to pure learning.

Playing is another intelligent act that has been observed of these octopuses. One octopus would play with an empty pill bottle. She would use her
siphon to shoot a stream of water at it. The bottle would shoot across the aquarium, toward the aquariums filter. Over a short period of time, the
filter system would push the pill bottle back toward the octopus. She would, once again, shoot the bottle across the aquarium. She did this about
twenty times in a row, for fun. After three to four days she lost the initial excitement in the task and began to be less interested in the pill bottle. This
shows that octopuses use upper level thinking. They wonder what an object is, and what they can do with it.