Here are six facts about how elephants see.

6 facts about an elephant’s eye vision

Every living thing sees the world differently. Some animals see the same colors as humans, while others have limited color vision. 

One of those animals that sees the world differently is elephants. Their eyesight has helped them survive and navigate the Savannas and forests. 

To help you understand why elephants see the way they do, here are six facts about an elephant’s eyesight. 

Elephant vision facts

An elephant’s eye is 3.8 cm.

Although elephants are massive in size, their eyes are not that big. African elephants can stand at 8.2 to 13 feet tall and can weigh 5,000 to 14,000 lbs, but each of their eyes is only 3.8 cm (1.5 in). 

In comparison to human eyes, an elephant’s eye is slightly larger than humans. A human’s eye is about 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter

An elephant’s eyes are located on the side of their head.

You have probably never really taken into consideration where an elephant’s eyes are located. Unlike humans, elephants' eyes are located on the side of their head. 

The location of their eyes gives them a better peripheral vision. This kind of vision gives them the ability to see at an angle rather than a central view. 

Elephants have poor eyesight. 

From what you read stated above, you are probably wondering, do elephants have good vision? The answer is no, elephants have poor eyesight

Their small eyes and its location limits their vision. These large mammals can only see up to short distances of up to 25 feet away.

Elephants are born blind.

Elephants have the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom. The average gestation period for these animals is 18 to 22 months. This long period helps to develop the baby elephant (calf) fully. 

Although it takes almost two years for an elephant to develop in the womb, it is born blind. Their vision starts to expand throughout the years. African elephant research has found that elephant calves rely heavily on their mothers to survive in the early stages of their lives. 

Elephants are colorblind. 

Aside from elephants not having good vision, elephants are colorblind. Elephants in the daylight have two kinds of color-sensors: green and red cones. 

One of the less known elephant vision facts is that color-blind humans and elephants share the same set of visual pigments. Elephants can see blues and yellows, but cannot distinguish between reds and greens. 

Elephants can see in the dark

Elephants spend a lot of time eating and stay up at night munching to get enough food. They run on two hours of sleep each night. Since they spend a lot of time in the dark, they need to be able to see in the darkness. 

Researchers have found that elephants exhibit arrhythmic vision - a vision that changes with the time of day. In the night, elephants are more sensitive to blue and violet lights, making it easier for them to see with less light. 

Support African elephant research

Elephants are amazing creatures that need your help to survive! At For Elephants, we conduct research to help find the best conservation strategies for elephants in zoos and the wild. Help support our research, by making a donation or buying our apparel. All the proceeds go to save the elephants!

related articles

Why elephants have amazing senses


This is how elephant sense receptors are helping them find their next meals and avoid danger.

read more

African Bush Elephants vs. African Forest Elephants


Here is how African bush elephants and African forest elephants differ.

read more

The role of elephants as gardeners and landscapers


Here is the role that elephants play in their habitats. 

read more

UPDATED: Get to know the African elephants


We have gathered some African elephant facts  that you can share with your friends and family to educate them of how great elephants are! 

read more

Three ways that For Elephants is helping save the elephants


These are the three ways that For Elephants is helping African elephants! 

read more

Updated: Why African elephant populations are declining


Learn the four causes of African elephant population declines. 

read more

Five reasons why you should love elephants


These five facts about elephants will make you love elephants even more!

read more

Updated: What is an African elephant’s diet?


Here is what an African elephant likes to eat!

read more

The importance of healthy diets for zoo elephants


Learn why zoo elephants need to maintain healthy diets. 

read more

Updated: How you can help save the elephants


Four ways you can save the world's elephants!

read more