Given the intricacies of the retinal neural circuit, which bears a striking resemblance to that of the brain, it is proposed that retinal function goes beyond mere spatiotemporal prefiltering. We hypothesise that aspects related to motion detection and discrimination, anticipation and adaptation to environmental and contextual conditions, which have traditionally been ascribed to the brain, may be supported by neurons in the retina. Such early computations may be dependent on compensative and adaptive mechanisms that stem from qualities intrinsic to the retinal neural circuit and its interaction with the environment (neural transduction time, connectivity patterns, regularities in the input signal, temporal dynamics and light variations). With a view to investigating the contribution of the photoreceptor population to the processing performed by the retina in natural scotopic conditions, we present a continuous model of the rod photoreceptor. Our model permits the reproduction and exploration of a set of qualitative features displayed in vitro, such as excitation-dependent activation level and time-to-membrane current integration. We captured qualitative aspects of key features selected for their presumed importance in early visual function. Further, we subjected our model to extensive parameter sensitivity analyses, aiming to provide a visual representation of their contribution to the observed qualitative behavior.