Why Would an Ambush Predator Have Bright Orange Fur?

We see tigers as orange, but their prey, such as deer, have dichromatic vision and see the big cats as a well-camouflaged green.
We see tigers as orange, but their prey, such as deer, have dichromatic vision and see the big cats as a well-camouflaged green.

You've never seen a green tiger, but its prety has – though they might not realize it until it's too late. To the human eye, it might seem odd for nature to supply tigers with an orange coat – after all, we know orange as the color to wear to stand out, for items such as high-visibility cycling jackets.

Most humans have trichromatic vision, meaning we can differentiate between combinations of blue, green, red, and all of their hues. However, many other land animals, including cats and dogs, have dichromatic vision, which is similar to people who are red-green color blind.

Now you're probably getting the picture: A deer in the wild would see that orange-coated tiger as just some large green shape blending in with all of the other greenery in the area. Along with those stripes, it's basically the ideal camouflage for the sharp-toothed hunter. According to John Fennell, a British lecturer in animal sensing and biometrics, the "tiger has evolved over the sweep of evolution to have a coloring, a camouflage system, which protects it very well in its jungle setting."

All about color blindness:

  • Approximately 300 million people are color blind, about 95 percent of whom are men.

  • Newborn babies are thought to only see black, white, and grey. Red is the first color they see; they don't see the full spectrum until about five months of age.

  • Men can't pass on their color blindness to their sons, but all of the sons of a color blind woman will also be color blind.

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    • We see tigers as orange, but their prey, such as deer, have dichromatic vision and see the big cats as a well-camouflaged green.
      By: StarJumper
      We see tigers as orange, but their prey, such as deer, have dichromatic vision and see the big cats as a well-camouflaged green.