Nocturnal animals are more active at night and sleep more during the daylight hours. Being nocturnal is an adaptation that helps the animals survive in their habitats. Many desert animals are nocturnal because the desert is very hot during the daylight hours. Yet even in a forest habitat, most of the mammals and some of the birds, and insects are nocturnal. Many animals are more active at dawn and dusk, when they can take advantage of low lighting. This is called crepuscular and is typical of some mammals and many birds and frogs.
Nocturnal animals have adaptations that help them survive in the darkness. Some examples of nocturnal adaptations are the large eyes of flying squirrels, owls, hares, and voles. Many nocturnal animals have exceptional hearing, such as owls, hares, and foxes, while others, such as bobcats, mountain lions and bears have an amazing sense of smell. Bats use echolocation to find their way in the dark. Fireflies use their flashing lights to signal for a mate in the dark.
Whatever their adaptation, nocturnal animals are seen much more seldom by humans, who are diurnal (active during the day), so are interesting to study.
To learn more about nocturnal animals, try the following activities: