Google search engine
HomeBig KidLearning & EducationTeaching Your Kids About Nocturnal Animals

Teaching Your Kids About Nocturnal Animals

After teaching children about animals, it is important that we teach them about types of animals also. There are two categories of animals that children must be aware of – diurnal and nocturnal. In this article, we have covered some basic information about nocturnal animals for preschoolers that will help them learn about these animals. Let’s begin!


What Are Nocturnal Animals?

Here is the nocturnal animal’s definition for children:

There are certain animals that are active during the night and sleep during the night. These animals are known as nocturnal animals. Nocturnal animals have heightened senses due to their activity in the dark. Therefore, having a highly developed sense of smell, sight, and hearing helps them to survive.


Some nocturnal animals examples are: Bats, owls, hyenas, leopards, etc.

Why Some Animals Are Called Nocturnal?

There are many theories on how animals became nocturnal, but evolutionary biology is the widely accepted theory. Millions of years ago, the ancestors of modern-day mammals lived and evolved. These animals then developed nocturnal (animals that are active at night) characteristics to evade diurnal (animals that are active during the day) predators. Therefore, these night animals survived when their predators were sleeping and passed these nocturnal characteristics to the various other nocturnal animals in the world today.


What Are The Advantages Of Being Nocturnal Animals?

Many birds, like owls and hawks, hunt the same prey. But hawks are diurnal and hunt during the day, whereas owls are nocturnal and hunt during the night. Therefore, the competition to hunt the same prey is reduced. Also, there is no conflict between the two birds.

Similarly, successful hunting is also another advantage of nocturnality for predatory animals. Nocturnal animals, like lions, hunt for zebras, who are diurnal. Therefore, it gives lions an advantage and increases chances of success, as zebras have poor night vision.


How Can These Animals See In The Dark?

There are numerous animals that can see in the dark. But how? Let’s read!

  • Some nocturnal animals have large eyes as compared to their body size, which helps them gather light to see in the dark.
  • Nocturnal animals like owls have tubular eyes, which gives them better peripheral vision. Owls can also rotate their heads up to 270 degrees, which gives them a view of their surroundings.
  • Nocturnal animals like bats use echolocation to navigate in the dark. It is a process where they emit a sound and then listen for the echo of that sound to bounce back. This helps them determine the location, shape and size of preys around them.

Nocturnal Animals List For Kids

Nocturnal Animals List

Here is a list of some nocturnal animal names to teach your kids.


1. Owls

Owls are found all over the world. These nocturnal animals weigh between 2-4 pounds. They hunt small animals and insects and have extremely large eyes compared to their bodies.

2. Bats

Another nocturnal animal that can be found worldwide. These are the only flying mammal that can live up to 30 years. Bats send out beeps and respond to the different echoes that bounce back, allowing them to navigate where their prey is and successfully hunt. They mostly eat insects and fruits.


3. Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, and have spines on their backs. These nocturnal animals typically weigh between 1-3 pounds. They use their heightened sense of smell and hearing to hunt their prey. The long snout of hedgehogs allows them to forage easily and find berries.

4. Foxes

Foxes are found all over the words and weigh between 8-15 pounds. These nocturnal animal use their incredible sense of hearing to find their prey and navigate. Foxes eat a range of things, including worms, berries and spiders.

5. Leopards

Leopards are nocturnal animals that can weigh up to 200 pounds. Leopard’s diet includes mammals like antelope, deer, bugs and fish. These animals also use special calls to communicate with each other.

6. Mouse

A mouse is a nocturnal animal with poor sight but has a highly developed sense of hearing and smell that they use to hunt and navigate. These animals are herbivores and eat a variety of fruits and plants. A mouse uses its whiskers to sense changes in temperature and also to feel the surface they’re walking on.

7. Civets

Civets are small mammals that have long tails and spots on their fur. These animals are nocturnal by nature and like to stay in trees and high places. Civets sleep during the day but wake up at sunset.

8. Hyenas

Hyenas are nocturnal animals that typically weigh between 50-100 pounds. These animals can travel 25-40 kilometres per night in search of food. Hyenas are skilled hunters that can take down wildebeest or antelope.

9. Jaguars

Jaguars are nocturnal animals that can hunt both during the day and at night. These animals usually travel up to 10 km a night when hunting. Their prey includes deer, tortoises, iguanas, armadillos, birds, and monkeys, to name a few.

10. Porcupines

Porcupines are nocturnal animals that weigh between 15-30 pounds. These animals sleep during the day and forage for food during the night.

11. Raccoons

Raccoons are nocturnal animals that weigh between 8-15 pounds. These animals leave their dens soon after sunset and head straight for the nearest food.

12. Tigers

Tigers prefer engaging in most of their hunting activities at night as they prefer avoiding human conflict during daylight. Tigers have a variety of prey ranging in size from termites to elephant calves.

13. Toads

Toads are nocturnal amphibians that weigh between 1-4 ounces. Toads mostly eat insects and other arthropods, but some of their species also enjoy eating reptiles, small mammals, and even other amphibians.

14. Moths

Moth’s nocturnal feeders show peak foraging activities just before midnight. These insects are well known for causing extensive damage to fruit crops.

15. Fireflies

These are nocturnal insects that can be found all over the world. Fireflies are best known for their ability to produce light.

How Does Human Activity Impact Nocturnal Animals?

Nocturnal as well as diurnal animals have been affected by human activity in many ways. As the human population expands, we occupy the land of animals and utilise it, leaving animals at risk of becoming endangered.

Light pollution also hugely impacts nocturnal animals. As cities are lit up throughout the day and night, nocturnal animals do not have the darkness they require to do their activities at night.

Habitat destruction due to human activity is another reason that impacts nocturnal species. The carnivorous predators start to show nocturnal characteristics to avoid the humans, creating an unbalanced circle of life in some ecosystems.

Nocturnal Animals Activities For Preschoolers

Here are some nocturnal animal preschool activities that your kids will love. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Alphabet Game

Ask your child to name a nocturnal animal with each letter of the alphabet. For example, A for the African Elephant, B for Bats, C for Civets, and so on.

2. Teach With Flashcards

Prepare a few flashcards with images of nocturnal animals. Ask your child if they can recognise the animals by looking at their images.

3. Colour The Nocturnal Animals

Take a print of nocturnal and diurnal animals. Ask your child to colour only the nocturnal animals.

4. Animal Sounds

Make your child listen to the sounds of nocturnal animals and tell them about that animal. Later you can also test them by playing with the animal’s sound, and they have to guess the animal’s name.

5. What Animal ….?

Ask your child questions about nocturnal animals by mentioning their traits or characteristics, and your child has to tell the name of that animal. For example, you can ask them, “What nocturnal animal hangs upside down?” and they will answer, “bats”.

6. Animal Masks

You can encourage your child to learn the name of nocturnal animals by indulging your little one in craft time and making face masks of these animals.

7. Sensory Bin

Create a sensory bin for children using different coloured rocks and nocturnal and diurnal animal figurines. Ask your child to take out only the nocturnal animals from the bin.

8. Draw The Night Scene

Nocturnal Animals night scene

Give your child a drawing sheet and ask them to draw nocturnal animals night scene. They can draw an owl sitting on a tree, a bat hanging from a branch and a leopard looking for prey.

9. Sit & Stand Game

Tell your child that you will be taking the name of a few animals, and they have to stand if the animal is nocturnal and sit if it’s diurnal.

10. Dress Up Game

Dress up your child as a nocturnal animal and ask them to make the sound the animal makes. You can also organise a nocturnal animal themed party for your little one’s friends.

Interesting Facts About Nocturnal Animals For Kids

Here are some amazing facts about the animals that are awake at night:

  1. The largest nocturnal primate is the aye-aye, which is about 3 feet tall.
  2. The smallest nocturnal mammal is the pygmy mouse which weighs less than one ounce.
  3. The slowest nocturnal animal is the three-toed sloth, and it moves at the top speed of six inches per minute.
  4. The fastest nocturnal animal is the Brazilian free-tailed bat, which can shoot over 160 kilometres per hour.
  5. Nocturnal animals have greater hearing than diurnal animals, allowing them to negotiate the dark easily.

We hope this article helped you to teach your child about nocturnal animals. Do try the activities mentioned above to make the learning process fun and easy for your little one.

Also Read:

Flying Animals Names in English for Kids
Pet Animals Names for Children in English
Endangered Animal Names for Children



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments