Surely you’ve ever met an animal at night and when a little moonlight, or a light or lantern, has reached you have seen that his eyes shone a lot. This is what makes some animals have nightlife, because thanks to that they can see perfectly when for others, however, there is very little light to get to glimpse something. But, exactly, how can nocturnal animals see in the dark? What is that brightness?

nocturnal animals shine

How can they see some animals in the dark?

The nocturnal animals can see in the dark because they have a reflecting surface called tapetum lucidum, which is a layer of tissue located in the retina, although in some species it is behind it. This tissue developed to see well in the dark is what allows certain animals to make nocturnal or crepuscular life, since in some species it is more developed than in others, while in others, diurnal animals, it is practically non-existent or does not exist.

Thanks to this part of the eyes, these living beings can see shapes and colors that diurnal animals, like us, cannot see in conditions of darkness or very little light. In fact, diurnal animals can get a little oriented in the dark after taking a while in it, since the eyes get used a little, but only when they get a minimum of light, for example in the twilight time and in full night if the moonlight is sufficiently bright.

Thus, many animal species have enough that the moon shines a bit to be able to see perfectly, others need to wait for the twilight, when the sun rises or goes out, to be able to see well. But, in addition, the nocturnal animals can orient themselves in the darkness not only thanks to their more developed sight for it, but also because they have an excellent smell and hearing. Also, some species not only have these senses much more developed, but also have adaptations such as echolocation and thermoreceptors to orient themselves in space and find food. The echolocation allows orientation thanks to vibrations and thermoregulation thanks to the sensitivity to different temperatures.

The nocturnal animals take advantage of the daylight hours to regain strength, sleeping and resting, but also their sight is not so good in this part of the day, since the light is excessive for them. On the other hand, animals that are crepuscular or that have both nocturnal and diurnal habits can adapt to wandering during the day and moving or looking for food, especially during the mating season.

Why the eyes of nocturnal animals shine

The eyes of some animals, totally nocturnal or with both nocturnal and diurnal activity, shine precisely for the part of the eye that we have commented that allows them to see better in the dark. The tapetum lucidum is the part of the eye that allows nocturnal animals to see well at night and in doing so produces an intense shine in the eyes.

The reason is because this tissue contains guanine and more batons, the eye cells sensitive to light, and both allow this layer of the eye to collect more light from the environment and reflect it, illuminating the view of these animals.

List of nocturnal and semi-nocturnal animals

Now that you know how you can see nocturnal animals at night and other details, here’s a list of nocturnal and partially nocturnal or crepuscular animals:

Nocturnal animals

  • Bat
  • Aye Aye
  • Loris
  • Malaysian Tarsier
  • Gondola of Rondo
  • Owl
  • Owl
  • Pygmy owl
  • Owl
  • Skunk or skunk
  • Red fox
  • Ring-tailed lemur
  • Boa de Tumbes
  • Firefly
  • clouded leopard
  • Cat of the sands
  • Hedgehog
  • Opossum
  • Armadillo
  • Genet
  • Hamster

Semi-nocturnal animals

It is known that animals that can have activity both day and night, according to their needs at the time of year in which they are. For example, wolves are mainly nocturnal, but in the winter months they can be seen moving and hunting during some hours of the day. There are also crepuscular animals, that is, they have the most activity during the twilight and take advantage of the little clarity that there is when the sun starts to rise and when it starts to set. These are some examples of these types of animals:

  • Wolf
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Cheetah
  • Raccoon
  • Deer
  • Red kangaroo
  • Rat
  • Koala
  • Hippopotamus
  • Snake
  • Gecko

In addition to knowing the names, throughout the article you can find several images of nocturnal animals and even how their eyes shine to see perfectly in the darkness of the night.

If you liked to learn how nocturnal animals can see in the dark, you may also be interested to know 8 animals that camouflage themselves to survive and how they do it.

If you want to read more articles similar to how nocturnal animals can see in the dark, we recommend you to enter our category of The Animals.