While many animals like to soak up the sun and go about their business in daylight, there are plenty of others who seem to come alive after darkness falls. These night owls and more hunt and survive in the dark, which is called nocturnal and crepuscular behavior. Nocturnal behavior is an adaptation to help animals survive in dark conditions and avoid predators. While some have excellent night vision, others have poor eyesight and rely on other senses to survive in the darkness, according to Animal Sake. Nocturnal animals sleep all day and are active at night. Crepuscular animals are mostly active at night, but not entirely sedate during the day.
While several wild animals, such as lemurs, coyotes, and skunks, follow these patterns, certain animals that have been domesticated as pets also have nighttime predilections. People who take these animals into their homes should understand that they will not see much action from the pets during the day when the animals are resting. But when nighttime arrives, there will be much more activity. Those who are hoping to sleep themselves may have to make accommodations if they plan to cohabitate effectively with nocturnal pets.
Those unsure whether their pets are nocturnal can explore this list.
• Mice and rats: Rats and mice are intelligent and social animals that are often kept as pets. They are most active at night when they can be heard squeaking, eating, and chewing.
• Hamsters: Another small rodent, hamsters also are nocturnal. At night, hamsters can be seen running on their wheels, collecting foods, and making nests in their bedding.
• African pygmy hedgehog: It is currently not legal to own a hedgehog as a pet in the state of Georgia. However, in other parts of the United States, this is a species of hedgehog commonly kept as a pet. According to The Spruce: Pets, pet hedgehogs are quiet, active, entertaining, and require a lot of care. They make great companion animals. However, because they are nocturnal, they will need to be fed and cared for in the evening hours.
• Leopard geckos: These lizards sleep in safe and hidden spots during the day and become active when night falls. Leopard geckos do not have the same light requirements as other reptiles that are kept as pets.
• Cats: Cats are most active between dusk and dawn and are content to snooze throughout much of the day. They seem keen on catching prey (whether real or imaginary) around the house at night and vocalizing when their owners are trying to get some shut eye.
• Rabbits: These furry friends also enjoy frolicking at night. They may scratch around their cages and make various noises. They also visit the litter box at night (if trained), groom themselves and may be more receptive to petting from owners.
Many animals prefer to be out and about at night. Prospective pet owners should be aware of these tendencies, so they know what to expect from such pets.