Nocturnal Animals List, Pictures & Interesting Facts

List of nocturnal animals with photographs and fascinating facts

Nocturnal Animals

Animals that are active during the night are known as nocturnal animals. Specialized adaptations for nocturnal living, such as big eyes for dimmer light vision and increased hearing and olfactory senses, are common. Aardvarks, bats, moths, owls, raccoons, Tasmanian devils and wolves are some of the nocturnal creatures.

Scroll down to see our top 20 list of nocturnal animals…

Diurnal & Crepuscular Animals

Diurnal is the polar opposite of nocturnal. Animals that are active during the day are called diurnal animals. At sunset, crepuscular animals are active (i.e. Throughout the day and at night, there are

Nocturnal Animals List

What is your favorite nocturnal animal? Do you have any suggestions for who we should add to the list? Tell us what you think in the comments section!


  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Where found: Africa

Throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa (the territory south of the Sahara Desert), the aardvark is a nocturnal animal. It locates termites and ants using its sensitive nose and hearing, then devours them. The aardvark can smash open insect nests and dig the tunnels in which it resides with its strong claws.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (Lemur)
  • Where found: Madagascar

The world’s largest nocturnal primate is the aye-aye, which grows to be about 3 feet (90 cm) long, including its lengthy tail.

By tapping on trees during the night, this forager discovers food; it can recognize if a tasty bug grub is hidden beneath the bark by listening to the sound.

The aye-aye is said to bring calamity, and this remarkable nocturnal creature has suffered persecution as a result of such superstitions. The aye-aye is presently endangered due to this, as well as habitat loss.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (members of the family Mustelidae)
  • Where found: Europe, North America, Asia, Africa

The family Mustelidae (the weasel family) contains fifteen badger species. The American badger, European badger, and honey badger (a black African species) are all well-known badger species.

Badgers have massive claws and short legs, making them formidable burrowing creatures. They emerge at night to forage and hunt after spending the day in burrows known as setts.


  • Type of animal: Mammals (order Chiroptera)
  • Where found: Every continent except Antarctica

Bats are a nocturnal creature that is well-known. Bats are commonly associated with witchcraft because of their nocturnal lifestyle.

Bats have stretched-out skin on their fingers, which forms their wings. The order Chiroptera includes 1,400 or so species of living bats.

Megabats, often known as fruit bats, and microbats are the two basic kinds of bats. Microbats use echolocation to locate their prey.


  • Type of animal: Fish (order Siluriformes)
  • Where found: Every continent except Antarctica

The Siluriformes order of fish includes catfish. The barbels, which are present on many (but not all) catfish species, are named after the long, cat-like whisker-like barbels.

Other species are much smaller, such as the wels catfish, a large European catfish that can reach lengths of up to 16 feet (5 meters).

Many catfish live in freshwater environments and are nocturnal, but not all. Venomous spines are found in about half of all catfish species.


  • Type of animal: Insect (family Lampyridae)
  • Where found: Temperate & tropical regions worldwide

Fireflies are beetles that belong to the Coleoptera order, not flies as their name implies. Fireflies are also known as “glow worms” outside of the Americas.

The firefly family, Lampyridae, includes approximately 2,000 species. Most of them are nocturnal animals that use chemical processes in specific sections of the body to generate light (technically known as Bioluminescence).

The majority of fireflies emit light to attract mates, but some species use it to attract prey as well.

Flying Squirrels

  • Type of animal: Mammal (family Sciuridae)
  • Where found: Asia, Europe, North America

The wing-like membrane (known as a patagium) that stretches between their arms and legs allows flying squirrels to glide from tree to tree.

Asia is home to nearly all flying squirrel species, although three are found in North America and three are found in Europe.

The genus Glaucomys includes North American flying squirrels (southern flying squirrel, northern flying squirrel, and Humboldt’s flying squirrel).

Nocturnal creatures make up the majority of flying squirrels. They aren’t capable of flying, despite their name.

Galagoes (Bushbabies)

  • Type of animal: Mammal (Primate, family Galagidae)
  • Where found: Africa

Galagoes are a family of small nocturnal primates found in sub-Saharan Africa. Like many nocturnal animals, galagoes have large eyes for seeing in the dark.

Galagoes feed mainly on insects, which they can hunt by sound using their long ears and acute hearing.

There are around 19 species of galagoes. Each species has its own, distinctive cry. Due to these child-like screams, galagoes are also known as bush babies.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (subfamily Erinaceinae)
  • Where found: Europe, Asia, Africa

The Erinaceinae subfamily of hedgehogs includes mammals. Hedgehog species number in the hundreds. They all have stiffened hairs that protect them from predators. A hedgehog can roll up into a ball to protect itself from danger when it is threatened.

During the winter, hedgehogs that live in chilly climates hibernate.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (family Felidae)
  • Where found: Africa, Asia

The leopard is one of the most identifiable wild cat species because of its spotted coat. The leopard’s rosettes, which are sometimes called “spots,” are what they’re called.

The leopard is mostly nocturnal, like many wild cats. The tapetum lucidum is a lining that covers all cats’ eyes, which helps to boost night vision by reflecting light back through the retina. A cat’s eyes glow at night because of the presence of the tapetum lucidum.

The leopard covers a larger area than any other wild cat species, spanning much of Africa and Asia. The leopard is endangered and has a conservation rating of “Vulnerable,” despite its large range.

Night Monkeys

  • Type of animal: Mammals (order Primates, genus Aotus)
  • Where found: Central and South America

The only truly nocturnal monkeys are the eleven species of night monkey. Their huge brown eyes, which are monochromatic (unable to discern colors), help them see in the dark.

Aotus is a genus name that means “earless,” since night monkeys have ears but are mostly covered in fur.

Night owls have a keen sense of smell, which aids them in finding food in the dark.


  • Type of animal: Insect (order Lepidoptera)
  • Where found: All continents except Antarctica

Moths and butterflies belong to the insect order Lepidoptera. There are nearly 160,000 species of moths compared to around 18,500 species of butterflies (there are approximately 18,500 butterfly species).

Most moths are nocturnal, although there are some diurnal species. Nocturnal moths are often attracted to artificial light. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it is thought that moths may use natural light sources (e.g., the moon) to enable them to fly in a straight line.


  • Type of animal: Bird (family Caprimulgidae)
  • Where found: All continents except Antarctica

The long wings, well-camouflaged plumage, and short beaks of nightjars distinguish them from other nocturnal birds. Nighthawks are a kind of North American member of this family.

Nightjars, like many nocturnal animals, are the subject of superstitious beliefs. Because people thought that nightjars suckled on the milk of animals, they were dubbed “goatsuckers” in the past.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (Marsupial)
  • Where found: North and South America

The Americas are home to over 100 marsupials called opossums. The Virginia opossum is one of the most well-known and widely distributed opossum species in North America.

Opossums, like all marsupials, are born early in their development. The fetuses, known as “joeys,” travel to a specific sac in the mother’s body. While they continue growing, they may nurse from their mother here.

Opossums are nocturnal foragers that eat everything.


  • Type of animal: Bird (order Strigiformes)
  • Where found: All continents except Antarctica

Although not all of the 240 or so owl species are nocturnal, owls are among the best-known nocturnal animals.

Owls have exceptional hearing and eyesight for hunting prey in low-light situations, as well as a huge beak for stronger night vision.

Owls’ ears are asymmetrically placed on the head, giving the species enhanced hearing capabilities in determining from which direction a sound is arriving.

The sound is directed towards the ears by the stiff feathers that make an owl’s spherical “face.”


  • Type of animal: Mammal (family Procyonidae)
  • Where found: North America

The raccoon is one of the most well-known North American animals, with its distinctive black and white face. The adaptable raccoon, which was once a forest creature, is now found in a variety of settings, including towns and cities.

Insects, worms, the eggs of both birds and reptiles, fish, and occasionally birds and mammals make up the raccoon’s highly diversified diet.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (rodent of genus Rattus)
  • Where found: All continents except Antarctica

The black rat and the slightly larger brown rat are the most well-known and widely distributed species in the genus Rattus.

Because of the presence of food and shelter, rats are frequently found in human settlements. Rats have followed man as he has spread throughout the globe, often as stowaways. Most of the places where humans dwell now have both the brown and black rat.

Rats are known to carry illness and may severely harm crops and products if they do. These invasive rats have a destructive impact on native wildlife in many areas, and their introduction has been disastrous.


  • Type of animal: Arachnid (order Scorpiones)
  • Where found: All continents except Antarctica

Scorpions are arachnids with huge claws and a segmented tail that ends in a stinger. Scorpions have eight legs, with the exception of their pincers, which are essentially modified mouthparts.

A scorpion’s sting transfers venom into a victim. Both hunting and predator defense are done with it.

Scorpions are primarily nocturnal creatures. During the night, scorpions emit a blue-green glow when exposed to UV rays, making them easier to see.

Tasmanian Devil

  • Type of animal: Mammal (Marsupial)
  • Where found: Australia

The largest carnivorous marsupial in Tasmania is the Tasmanian Devil. It is related to the quolls and other predominantly carnivorous / insectivorous marsupials in the Dasyuridae family

The majority of Tasmanian devils live on Tasmania, a Australian island state, but a few were reintroduced on the mainland recently.

The fearsome night-time howls and aggressive feeding habits of the Tasmanian devil have made it famous.

Sadly, a illness has recently endangered this iconic Australian species.


  • Type of animal: Mammal (family Canidae)
  • Where found: Throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere

The gray wolf is the largest member of the Canidae family of dogs, and it’s also known as a gray wolf.

Wolves are found in many different habitats across their range, but are mainly associated with wilderness and forest areas.

Wolves form packs, or family groups, to live and hunt together. Pack hunting gives wolves an edge over lone predators, allowing them to eat prey as large as bison and moose.

The wolf is represented in mythology and folklore in a variety of civilizations because of its nocturnal habits and distinctive howling. It is a well-known nocturnal animal across the globe.

Nocturnal Animals List: Conclusion & Further Reading

We hope you’ve found the information about the many different species of nocturnal creatures fascinating.

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