Which Animals are Nocturnal?

A non-exhaustive list of nocturnal animals

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By Alex

a list of nocturnal animals

Do you know any nocturnal animals that live and hunt at night? And do you know that many of these are awake even during the day? Here is a list of the most common and little-known ones: facts, informations and images of some really amazing nocturnal animals.

Nocturnal animals are creatures that are primarily active during the night and sleep during the day. They have evolved various adaptations to thrive in low light conditions and to avoid predators or competition from diurnal (daytime) animals. These adaptations can include enhanced night vision, keen hearing, and specialized behaviors.

Nocturnal animals: the most and least known ones

Here we present a list of some nocturnal animals. Many of them are well known predators, but others are frankly unsuspecting!

Bat

Probably the best-known nocturnal animal in the world. The bat takes advantage of the starry firmament to go hunting; in fact, it is the only mammal that can fly, but it does not feed only on insects; bats that eat fruits act as carriers for seed transport, while those that consume nectar help in pollination.

Owl and barn owl

The owl is perhaps the quintessential nocturnal animal. Owls are known for their ability to see in the dark and hunt prey during the night. however, with regard to its “relative,” it should be pointed out that the characteristic anatomy of the barn owl is ideal for night life: tubular eyeballs and feathers that allow it to glide in silent mode. Features that enable this raptor to detect prey at long distances and hunt it even in the tallest grass.

Fox

The fox prefers rural settings living especially at dusk and dawn. But the red fox also likes to roam around in the city, preferring nighttime so as to avoid the hazards associated with urban life.

Nocturnal animals, all those that live at night: the fox
One of the most popular nocturnal animals: the fox

Woodland fox

The woodland fox is a canid native to South America. In English, this species is also called ‘crab-eating fox’ because during the summer season it likes to set up succulent midnight snacks with crabs and crustaceans.

nocturnal animals fox of the woods
The woodland fox during summer nights likes to feed on crustaceans and crabs

Dormouse

This animal is fmous for its proverbial sleeping, but it sure has other qualities.

The dormouse loves to scamper among the branches at night, looking for a meal among fruits, flowers and insects: but only for 6 months of the year!

dormouse nocturnal animals
The dormouse is one unexpected nocturnal animal.

Deer

Like foxes, the deer loves twilight, but it is not unusual to see it roaming the streets at night, on roads that lap forests.

Sugar Glider

Sugar gliders are primarily active at night, making them nocturnal animals. They have large eyes adapted for low light conditions and a keen sense of smell, which helps them locate food such as nectar, fruit, insects, and sap during their nightly foraging expeditions. During the day, sugar gliders typically rest in tree hollows or other sheltered locations to avoid predators and conserve energy for their nocturnal activities.

sugar glider
The sugar glider is mostly active at night.

Badger

The badger is an omnivore that exploits the dark to organize lucrative worm dinners: in fact, small invertebrates make up about 60 percent of its diet. Its extremely refined vision allows it to intercept insects, lizards and frogs in the dark.

Nocturnal animals, all those that live at night: the badger
The badger is an omnivore that is active mostly during the night.

Hedgehog

The hedgehog turns out to be a skilled hunter thanks to its highly developed sense of smell, which it uses mostly at night, after curling up on itself throughout the day. Similar but not the same as the hedgehog.

Porcupine

Despite its small size, the hedgehog, of the porcupine family, likes to hunt at night; the American one is able to climb trees, while those widespread in Europe are skilled swimmers, and thanks to their sharp quills present an excellent defense against predators.

Nocturnal animals, all those that live at night: hedgehog
Hedgehogs are active at night.

Frog

During mating season, frogs and toads tune in to sing their call, a chorus that grows thicker as darkness advances. But living at night is also a smart move, as not many predators would know how to notice a frog immersed in a black pond.

Coyotes and wolves

Coyotes are nocturnal wild dogs that hunt rodents and other small animals, usually at night, although it is not difficult to see them in action during the day as well. Wolf Wolves are also known to hunt in packs during the night hours.

Kinkajou

A close relative of the raccoon, the kinkajou or fawn is a small mammal native to Central and South America that climbs trees at night to feed: figs are its favorite fruit.

Kiwi

The kiwi also makes invertebrates its bread and butter, which is why it acts at night, and meanwhile avoids being caught by predators in the New Zealand skies.

Leopard

Leopards also feed under the favor of night. They are able to travel and swim for miles, then climb a tree and finish their prey undisturbed.

Nocturnal animals, all those that live at night: leopard
A beautiful specimen of leopard

Opossums

Opossums are marsupials that are known for their habit of “playing dead” when threatened. They are scavengers and feed on a variety of food items.

Opossums are a real godsend for farmers and gardeners! In fact, their eating habits help to keep the harmful actions of pests under control. They have totally black eyes as they are completely occupied by the pupil: to see better in the absence of light. It is famous among children after the film Madagascar.

Nocturnal animals, all those that live at night: possum
Opossums are a real godsend for farmers.

Raccoon

The raccoon is a lively and energetic little nocturnal animal. In North America it roams near urban areas.

It is indeed able to sneak into homes and rummage through garbage cans, where it hoards whatever food it can find, even causing a stir.

Nocturnal animals: raccon
That typical bandit mask that makes raccoons popular.

Civet

The organic substances released by this small African and Asian mammal are used in the cosmetics industry to make perfumes, and in the food industry to give flavor, by ingesting and defecating it, to a very valuable and expensive coffee, the Kopi Luwak. But the civet organizes banquets using the fruit, which it consumes exclusively at night.

Finally, there is no shortage of animals that it would be improper to call nocturnal animals, but which are very active at night and spend several hours a day snoozing: domestic cats fall right into this category!

Other animals to discover

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  • Gecko: a surprising and totally harmless reptile
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  • Ferrets: facts, food, habitat and top care tips