Facts about Nocturnal Animals
There are a number of nocturnal animal species like sea turtles
or seabirds that visit breeding sites at night to reduce the risk of
predation. They are able to protect themselves as well as their
offspring due to the pattern they adapt to, in the course of their
lifespan. Otherwise diurnal, these animals are also crepuscular, which
means that they are most active during the twilight hours.
Nocturnal animals have highly developed senses. Their sense of hearing,
sight and smell are specially adapted, to make the most of
night-illumination. Some nocturnal animals have vision that is easily
adapted to night and day illumination, while bushbabies and bats
are able to remain active only at night. These animals burrow and sleep
during the daytime and hunt at night. Many nocturnal animals have
special eye cells called rods that enable them to capture light when it
is dark, more than humans or other animals can in the same environment.
Generally speaking, nocturnal animals benefit from scents that linger
in the air longer at night. Since the air is still, it becomes easier
for these animals to pick up and track scents, and find food. Their
sharp hearing ability enables them to locate their prey as the latter
flee over fallen leaves and twigs. Though the prey also gets away many
times, the winner in the animal kingdom is one who hears and locates
the other first.
The bodies of nocturnal animals have special adaptations to enable them to survive the dark. Nocturnal animals like lemurs have special eyes, while bats use echolocation. Echolocation refers to
the bat's ability to emit a high-pitched sound. The sound bounces off
objects within range and gives the animal information about the shape,
distance and direction of the object. Nocturnal animals like rabbits have an extra powerful sense of hearing.
These animals inherit features that help them snag their prey easily.
For example: the owl has a special feather lining on the edge of each
wing that muffles sound as it swoops down on prey. A cat has heavy fur
and soft foot pads that help it to sneak up on a meal, while the
aardvark can actually hear and smell insects as it walks along.
There are three basic advantages that a nocturnal animal benefits from.
Not only do the animals get to hunt and stay awake at the cooler hours
of the night, but they are also exposed to less competition when they
hunt in the dark. The twilight and night hours also protect these
animals from predators. They are able to camouflage well at night, to
find their way, hunt and flee from predators.