List of Nocturnal Animals What is a Nocturnal Animal?
Nocturnal animals are creatures that are active during the night and sleep during the day. While some animals, such as bats, owls and possums are strictly nocturnal, others have varying levels of nocturnality. For example, kangaroos are classified as nocturnal, but they are also active at dawn and dusk. Similarly, elephants and red foxes are predominantly active during dawn and dusk but venture out at night.
Echidnas and red-bellied black snake, no the other hand, adjust their activity levels based on their environment, foraging at night in hot weather and during the day in cooler temperatures. Overall, the term “nocturnal” is used quite broadly to describe animals that are active when it’s dark outside.
Possums are arboreal, nocturnal marsupial mammals that only come out at night. There are 23 species of possums in Australia.Read More
Kangaroos are large hopping marsupials. The female carries its baby in a pouch in its abdomen. They are crepuscular and nocturnal.Read More
Koalas are cuddly tree-dwelling animals with big noses. They are mostly nocturnal and crepuscular and sleep up to 22 hours a day.Read More
Saltwater Crocodiles are one of the most ferocious animals in the world. They are mostly nocturnal, but will also hunt during the day.Read More
Shark attacks are wildly publicised by the media, but these attacks are very rare. Sharks are most active and dusk. However, they are opportunistic and will hunt during the day if there is prey.Read More
Echidnas are egg-laying mammals. In warmer climates, they are nocturnal but forage during the day as the days get colder.Read More
The red fox is classified as is nocturnal, but it is actually crepuscular, being most active during the evening and early mornings.Read More
Platypuses have beaks like a duck and flippers like a beaver and lay eggs. Mostly nocturnal and crepuscular, they are sometimes seen out during the day.Read More
Sugar gliders are night possums that glide from tree to tree and eat sugary nectar of plants. They are about 250mm long and very agile.Read More
Dingoes are wild dogs brought to Australia by humans 5,000 years ago. They are mostly crepuscular and nocturnal in warmer weather.Read More
Red Bellied Black Snake
Red bellied black snakes are venomous. They are typically diurnal but may become nocturnal during hot or dry weather.Read More
Brumby (Feral Horse)
Brumbies are wild horses, descendants of domestic animals that escaped from early European settlers. They are crepuscular–being most active during the morning and evening and resting during the hottest parts of the day.Read More
Tasmanian Devils are boisterous and scary-looking marsupials. They are nocturnal and are extinct except on the island of Tasmania.Read More
The house mouse predominantly lives in urban areas in close proximity to humans. It is crepuscular and nocturnal.Read More
Cassowaries, with dagger-like claws and powerful kicks, are the most dangerous birds in the world. They are most active at dawn and dusk.Read More
Wild rabbits have reached plague proportions in the Australian Outback and cause serious damage. They are active from dusk to dawn.Read More
Quokkas with their smiley faces seem like the happiest animals in the world. They are classified as nocturnal, but are mostly crepuscular.Read More
Feral cats are ordinary domestic cats that have gone wild and survive by hunting and killing native animals. They are nocturnal.Read More
Redback spiders, the second most dangerous spiders in the world, are mainly nocturnal. They live in messy-looking webs that trap prey.Read More
Wombats are burrowing native herbivorous marsupial mammals that look like baby bears. Rarely seen in the wild, they come out at night.Read More
The Tawny Frogmouth is a nocturnal insect hunter. It camouflages itself during the day by fluffing up its feathers to look like a tree stump.Read More
Flying Fox (Bat)
Flying Foxes are flying herbivorous mammals. They rely on their keen eyesight and hunt after dusk. It roosts upside down during the day.Read More
Greater bilbies are small, shy, ground-dwelling omnivorous marsupials with pointy ears and snouts. They are entirely nocturnal.Read More
The Antechinus is a ferocious little marsupial mouse with a pointy nose that feeds on small insects. It is nocturnal.Read More
Eastern Brown Snake
The eastern brown snake is the second most venomous snake in the world. It is diurnal but can be observed at night during hot days.Read More
Marsupial moles have no eyes or ears and have a bony shield to protect their noses. It has been reported as active during the day and at night too.Read More
The woylie is a nocturnal marsupial with a long tail which it wraps around a bundle of nesting material and transports it home.Read More
The brushtail possum is a semi-arboreal nocturnal marsupial. It has a bushy prehensile tail, which it uses to grasp onto branches.Read More
Wallabies are small to medium-sized hopping marsupials with compact legs built for agility in forested areas where they live. They are mainly nocturnal.Read More
Leadbeater's Possums are critically endangered fast-moving marsupials that live in the forest canopy. They are nocturnal.Read More
Gilbert's potoroo is the world's rarest marsupial and weighing roughly one kilo. It eats underground fungi (truffles). It is nocturnal.Read More
Spotted Tailed Quolls are the size of a large cat. They have many sharp little teeth. They are nocturnal but may come out during the day.Read More
Bandicoots are small native omnivorous marsupials with pointy snouts, large hind feet, and hop. They are nocturnal.Read More
Night Parrots are an endangered species. Only 250 survive in the Australian Outback. They are nocturnal.Read More
Stick Nest Rat
The white-tipped-stick-nest-rat lived in central Australia. It built its nest of sticks, making a massive nesting mound. It is nocturnalRead More
Tree kangaroos climb by wrapping the forelimbs around a tree and hopping up with their powerful hind legs. It is nocturnal.Read More
This small omnivorous marsupial became extinct in 1950 due to rabbits and introduced predators. They were nocturnal.Read More
The Ringtail Possum is an arboreal, nocturnal marsupial that holds its tail in a tight coil. It is the size of a cat and has two thumbs on each its front paws.Read More
The Cane Toad was brought to Australia by sugar-cane farmers against the advise of scientists. It is now invasive. It is nocturnal.Read More
Water buffaloes were introduced to supply meat for settlers. They now roam wild and are habitat destructive. They are diurnal and nocturnal.Read More
Asian elephants are most active after sunset and before sunrise. African elephants are more active during the day but are also active at night.Read More
Owls have round flat faces with prominent eyes. Most are crepuscular, being active at dawn and dusk.
The house gecko is active after dark and forages of insects at night. It is fond of cohabiting with humans in houses and buildings.
Black and brown rats are crepuscular and nocturnal but will come out during the day if there is food and its safe to do so. There were no rats in Australia until the arrival of the first Europeans. They arrived in Australia as stowaways.
Feral Pigs are the descendants of pigs brought to Australia by European settlers that became wild. They are primarily nocturnal.
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Red-eye tree frogs live in rainforests and wetlands. They are nocturnal hunters that feed on moths and other insects. They make a 'waa-aa' sound.
Rakali (Water Rat)
The Rakali is a semi-aquatic placental that is mostly nocturnal but starts searching for food at dusk. It lives in burrows on the banks of waterways.
Taipans are large venomous snakes. They are usually active during the day, but in hot weather they may become nocturnal.
Gastric-brooding frogs incubated their eggs in the mother's stomach and kept their young in her mouth. They are extinct. They were nocturnal.
The eastern bettong became extinct on mainland Australia. A very small population still exists in Tasmania. They are nocturnal.
Plains Wanderers are small quail-like birds that prefer to run rather than fly and fall prey to foxes. Although it is a diurnal feeder, it is only seen at night.
Time of the Day Animals are Active? Day, Evening, Night or Undecided
Animals have been categorised into three broad groups based on the time of day that they are most active.
• Diurnal (Daylight ) animals are usually active during daylight and rest when its dark.
• Crepuscular (Twilight) animals are active during dawn and dusk (twilight) and rest at other times of the day.
• Nocturnal (Night) animals are active during the night when it's totally dark and rest during other times of the day. Most mammals (69%) are nocturnal.
There is often confusion as to which of the above categories an animal belongs. This is because their activities overlap the various time categories. A perfect example is crepuscular animals, who tend to show most activity at dawn and dusk but may continue their activities later into the day or night. As a result, these creatures are often misidentified. One reason might be the tongue-twisting name – crepuscular – which few people can remember or pronounce.
Why Animals are Nocturnal Why Australia has Many Nocturnal Animals?
Nocturnal lifestyles in animals are usually adopted to survive extreme temperatures, reduce competition for food and avoid predators. Australian marsupials, for example, have adapted to the dry climate of their environment by avoiding the hot daytime temperatures and coming out at night when it's cooler. The cover of darkness also affords animals protection from predators. However, sometimes predators use the cover of darkness to hide and ambush their night-time prey. Some animals also avoid competing for food by adopting different hunting times. For instance, hawks and owls hunt for similar prey, but one hunts during the day and the other at night.
Nocturnal Animal Adaptations Special Characteristics of Animals of the Night
Nocturnal animals have developed several specializations to survive in the darkness. These include excellent low-light eyesight in owls, possums and cats; acute hearing in kangaroos, bilbies, and rabbits; echolocation used by bats; and an acute sense of smell in koalas and elephants. These adaptations enable the nocturnal animal to effectively find food and detect danger while remaining undetected at night.
Australian Nocturnal Animals Why are Most Australian Animals Nocturnal?
Most Australian animals are nocturnal or crepuscular, meaning they only become active in the dark. This behaviour is due to the hot and dry climate with little water typical of Australia. By remaining inactive during intense daytime heat, many Australian creatures avoid getting dehydrated.