Do Elephants Have Good Eyesight? (You Will Be Surprised)

Elephants are unique in some ways. They have massive sizes, massive limbs, massive ears, and many more. But today, we will talk about the eyesight of an elephant.

So do elephants have good eyesight? The answer is no. Elephants do not have good eyesight.

Every animal sees the world differently. Some animals have perfect eyesight, and other animals have poor eyesight. One of the animals who are not gifted with good eyesight is the elephants. 

As massive as the elephant is, they do not have perfect eyesight. An elephant sees the surroundings differently than humans and the other kinds of animals. Though they can still see and use their eyes every day, their eyesight is not as impressive as their other body parts. 

If you want to know more about the eyesight of elephants, this article will be for you. You will know everything there is to know about an elephant’s eyesight. 

You will also understand why the elephants see the way they do and how their vision works. So let us get started.

Do Elephants Have Good Vision?

If we talk about good vision, the vision of the elephants can be good within a few meters. Elephants can see clearly with a short distance of about ten meters. 

Elephants do not have good vision. Elephants have poor eyesight, and they can only see within twenty meters.

Why Do Elephants Have Bad Eyesight?

Researchers have not found out yet the reason why elephants have bad eyesight. We can blame it on nature because it made the elephant with bad eyesight. However, even if the elephant’s eyesight is not good, they are compensated with their excellent ability to smell and hear.

Also Read: Do Elephants Have Good Hearing?

Do Elephants Have Good Eyesight At Night?

People ask if elephants do have good eyesight at night. It is pretty interesting, though. Elephants are one of the animals that are exhibiting an arrhythmic vision. 

Arrhythmic vision means that the vision of the elephant changes within the daytime. If the night comes, the eyes of the elephants will become more sensitive to violet light. This means that the elephants can see pretty well even with just a tiny amount of daylight as long as the dominant color of the atmosphere is within the violet range. 

Elephants also have a very sensitive rod. You should know that if the density of the rods in the retina is higher, the elephants will also be more sensitive to light. As a result, all elephants have a perfect eye sign when it comes to night time. 

They even have more good sight than humans have. The vision of the elephants is known to reach a range of about forty-six meters. Though you need to know that it will vary, it can sometimes be much shorter than that. 

It is also a fact that elephants do not use their eyes often. Elephants use their sense of smell and hearing much more often than their eyesight.

What Kind Of Vision Do Elephants Have?

The eyes of an elephant are tiny. It can be easily compared because the rest of the body parts of an elephant are huge. Their eyes, though, are only a bit bigger than the eyes of a human. 

The eyes of the elephant are located on either side of the head of the elephant. This position may give them minimal peripheral vision. 

The elephants are born blind, but they will gain their eyesight as years go by. Elephants also are color blind. 

They see the world differently. The elephants also have very poor eyesight. Elephants can only see within a range of twenty-five feet.

elephant vision

Do Elephants See Double?

According to research, elephants do not see double. They have very poor eyesight. Elephants can see better in short distances. 

However, if elephants look over a great distance, they cannot see very well. Elephants also cannot see well because they are color blind. However, elephants can see much better during nighttime.

Elephant Vision Facts

Every animal sees the world differently. And the eyesight of elephants is given a lot of attention because as big as an elephant is, their vision is not as unique as the other parts of their body. To further understand the vision of the elephants, here are some elephant vision facts that you should know.

1. The Elephant’s Eye Is Three Point Eight Centimeter

It is no question that an elephant’s size is huge and known for their being big. Elephants have a massive body, but elephant’s eyes are quite the opposite. The eyes of the elephants are small compared to every part of its body. 

The African elephants can be eight points two to thirteen feet in height. The weight of an elephant can also be five thousand pounds to fourteen thousand pounds, but the eyes of an elephant are only three point eight centimeters. That is only one point five inches. 

Though if you compare an elephant’s eyes to the size of the human’s eyes, the eyes of an elephant are a little bit bigger. Human eyes are about two point five centimeters in diameter. That is one if in inches.

2. The Elephant’s Eyes Are Positions On Either Side Of The Elephant’s Head

You might see an elephant’s eyes all the time, and you might not think about this, but the location of the elephant’s eyes is on either side of their head. Humans have eyes beside each other but not elephants. Their eyes are positioned on the side of their heads. 

The location of their eyes allows them to have better peripheral vision. Because the eyes are located on either side of their head, their line of vision is broader and broader. This setup gives the elephants the ability to see at an angle much better than the central view.

3. The Elephants Have A Terrible Eyesight

This is a fact that almost everyone does not know of. Elephants are excellent in all their ways. They are massive. 

They have a perfect sense of smell and hearing. But when it comes to their eyes, they have poor eyesight. 

They are born colorblind, and they can only see in short distances. Elephants can see up to twenty-five feet away.

4. The Elephants Are Born Blind

The pregnancy time of the elephants is eighteen to twenty-two months. That is twice the pregnancy time of humans. Elephants have the longest time pregnancy there is among the animals. 

In eighteen to twenty-two months, the baby elephant will fully develop. However, even if the pregnancy time of elephants is so long, these baby elephants are born blind. 

Their vision, though, will expand through the years. The baby elephants will have to rely so much on their mothers when they are still young because their eyesight will still develop over the years.

5. The Elephants Are Colorblind

You already know that the elephants are born blind even if they have spent eighteen months in the womb of their mother. But aside from that, elephants are also colorblind. In the daytime, elephants have two kinds of color sensors. 

These color sensors are the green cones and the red cones. You should also know that the colorblind of humans and the colorblind of the elephants share the same set of visual pigments. 

The elephants are able to see the color blues and the color yellows. However, the elephants cannot tell apart between the color red and the color green.

6. The Elephants Can See In The Dark

Elephants are somewhat nocturnal. They move less during the day. Elephants also spend a lot of time eating, and these elephants stay up during the night eating to gain a lot of food. 

Elephants usually have two hours of sleep every night. Elephants spend a lot of time at night. With that, nature decides to allow the elephants to have excellent eyesight in the dark. 

The researchers have found evidence that elephants have arrhythmic vision. This arrhythmic vision will change within the time of the day. 

At night, the elephants are even more sensitive to the color blue and color violet lights. This will make the elephants have an easy time seeing even if they only have a small amount of time.


In summary, elephants are very known for their massive sizes and massive other things. However, when it comes to the eyesight of the elephants, they were not gifted with good eyesight. Elephants cannot even see so clearly if the object is at a very great distance. 

Elephants can also see within a few feet. They are color blind, and they see the environment differently. They are also born blind. They will gain their eyesight after many years.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more