Posts Tagged ‘infra red’

For anyone who has any questions about wildlife in Britain there is a fabulous resource that’s free and available to anyone.  This is the Wild About Britain website, and in particular the forums there.  You can ask any question and get an answer from a huge range of experts and enthusiasts.

I asked the question about badgers being able to see the infra-red light from my night vision scope, and one response seemed to match my experiences exactly.  This is from a WAB member called stripee:

Yes they can see it and always react. Some more nervously than others. I have a night vision scope with infra red. The badgers, foxes etc don’t like it shone in their eyes. I try to shine it for short periods and not directly at them.

If you look at your scope when the red light is on from the front it can be seen for a long distance at a certain angle. I had heard that badgers don’t see red light, but it just isn’t true.

This is good.  This backs up what I have observed.  It isn’t scientific proof yet, but it adds to the anecdotal evidence.

I’ll keep searching and see what else I can find out.  In the meantime I’ll also try some informal experiments  and see if I can get some more evidence.   There are more formal experiments that could be done to prove the matter one way or another (I’m thinking of a version of the Skinner Box with an infra-red stimulus) but I’d need a fairly captive population of badgers to try it on.  If any biology students are looking for an idea for a project, let me know…

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This is an open question to any and all badger experts out there.  Can badgers see infra-red?

I’ve used my night vision scope twice now (see Fieldnotes: 25th July 2009 – First night vision session and Fieldnotes: 6th March 2010 – A frosty night at the badger sett).  On both occasions the badgers have been visibly spooked, presumably by the infra-red light.  Of course, this is purely anecdotal evidence – I haven’t done any sort of scientific study – but I’ve spent enough hours watching badgers to know when one is disturbed by something, and all the ones I’ve seen through the night vision scope have indeed been disturbed.

Of course, it might not necessarily be the infra-red.  The night vision scope (it’s a Bresser, by the way) may be doing something else to frighten the badgers.  It may make a noise that is inaudible to us but audible to badgers, for instance.  I don’t know.

So, has anyone had experience of using a night vision scope to watch badgers, particularly with an infra-red torch?  Did you notice any signs that the badgers were aware of it?  Does anyone know of any research or literature on the subject?  Does anyone know if any other animals can see in the infra-red end of the spectrum?

If you have any ideas or experiences, please do let me know.  I’ll keep searching myself and let you know if I find anything.



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