Can Turtles See in the Dark?

Contrary to what some people may believe, turtles are able to see in the dark.  However, they are not able to see much better than we humans can.  Nocturnal animals and reptiles such as geckos, cats and owls are more likely to be better adapted to see better in the dark. Most turtles and humans are diurnal creatures and most active during the day which means that we are all more adapted to see when the sun is there to help illuminate everything.

Turtles have color vision with many cone subtypes with sensitivities ranging from the near ultraviolet to red.  Most turtles that spend most of their lives on land have their eyes looking down at objects in front of them.  Some aquatic turtles such as the snapping turtle or soft shelled turtles have eyes closer to the top of their head.  These species can hide from predators in shallow water where they have been known to lie entirely submerged except for their eyes and nostrils.  Sea turtles possess glands in their eyes that produce salty tears that help rid their body of excess salt that is taken from the water that they drink.

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