What does Tapetum Lucidum mean in dogs?

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The Tapetum Lucidum is the technical term for the reflective layer that lies just beneath a dog’s retina. Anyone who has seen a dog’s eyes in dim light or shined a light into a dog’s eyes in darkness has seen the Tapetum Lucidum. Up close, this reflective layer appears alternately yellow, red or occasionally another hue when illuminated in dim light. The color reflected back will depend on the pigments contained in the animal’s retina.

This reflective layer allows light to be reflected back through the retina, allowing dogs to see better at night. Humans lack the Tapetum Lucidum, which means that dogs have far more advanced night vision than do people. Other animals that have the Tapetum Lucidum include deer, cattle, cats, horses and ferrets.

The presence of Tapetum Lucidum in dogs allows them to operate extremely well in low-light situations. Additionally, this trait helps wild dogs such as coyotes and wolves track and attack prey.

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