Do you know what crepuscular animals are?
These animals are active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. This time of day is referred to as “crepuscular” because it is when the light is soft and grey.
Crepuscular animals are found all over the world. Some of the most common crepuscular animals include bats, rats, and mice. However, there are also many other types of crepuscular animals, such as rabbits, deer, and even some birds.
Crepuscular animals have several adaptations that help them to be active during the twilight hours. For example, many of these animals have large eyes that help them to see in low light conditions. Additionally, crepuscular animals often have very sensitive ears that help them to hear prey or predators.
One of the most fascinating facts about crepuscular animals is that they are often more active during the full moon. This is because the extra light from the moon helps these animals to see better.
Crepuscular animals are often elusive and solitary creatures. This is because they are active at times when there are fewer people or animals around.
If you want to see crepuscular animals, the best time to do so is during the twilight hours of dawn or dusk. This is when these animals are most active. However, it is important to be very quiet and still when you are trying to spot these animals.
Examples of Crepuscular Animals
The ferret (Mustela furo) is a domesticated species, found all over the world. They belong to the family Mustelidae, which also includes the stoat, badger and mink. It is thought that they are most likely a domesticated form of the wild European ferret or polecat (Mustela putorius).
The ferret is naturally crepuscular and is most active at dawn and dusk, but domestic ferrets will change this depending on when their owner is around to give them attention. They are playful and will interact with other pet ferrets, cats, and dogs in a friendly manner. Despite this, they also often sleep 18 to 20 hours per day.
The Puma (Puma concolor) is a large, graceful cat belonging to the felidae family. Pumas are also called Cougars, Panthers and Mountain Lions.
Pumas are solitary cats and have the largest ranges of all wild terrestrial mammals in the Western Hemisphere. Their range extends from Yukon, Canada to the Southern Andes in South America. Groups of pumas will only contain mothers and their young. Adult pumas only meet for breeding. Pumas are crepuscular and are most active at dawn and dusk.
Pumas are vocal cats and are well known for their low pitched hisses, growls, purrs and screams. As they have the largest hind legs in the cat family, pumas are able to leap very high up to 5.4 metres (18 feet). Horizontal jumps can measure between 6 and 12 metres (20 – 40 feet).
The Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is among the largest members of the kangaroo family.
Kangaroo is the common name given to a group of mammalians found in Australia. It is found across mainland Australia but avoids more fertile areas in the south, east coast and northern rainforests.
Red Kangaroos are marsupials, a type of mammal that gives birth to underdeveloped young (joeys). Males are called ‘Boomers’ and females are called ‘Flyers’.
The Red Kangaroo either lives alone or in small groups. They are mainly active in the evening or night (nocturnal and crepuscular) when it is cooler and spend most of the day sleeping. Kangaroos are not territorial animals and only enter into conflict over females. The largest males are dominant and control most of the breeding.
The Snow Leopard is sometimes known as the ‘Ounce’. It is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia and well known for its beautiful fur. The snow leopard’s range in central and south Asia is rugged mountainous regions of approximately 1,230,000 square kilometres, which extends through 12 countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The total wild population of the snow leopard is estimated at between 4,000 and 7,500 individuals. There are also 600 – 700 snow leopards in zoos around the world.
Snow Leopards are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) in their hunting activities. Commonly, the cat is a solitary hunter, however, it may share the task with its mate during breeding season.
The lion (Panthera leo) is a large cat of the genus Panthera and belongs to the family Felidae, along with tigers, leopards and jaguars.
Lions are known for their huge bodies and manes, and their social groups known as prides. One of the strongest felines in the world, they are apex predators and keystone predators, meaning they are extremely important in the food chain and have a large effect on the environment around them.
Lions are primarily nocturnal (active at night) or crepuscular (becoming active at twilight or before sunset). Lions spend much of their time resting, often up to 20 hours per day. Lions rest for lots of different reasons, including energy conservation, lack of prey and to avoid the heat of the day.
The Duck-billed Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The Platypus is one of the few venomous mammals whereby the male Platypus has a spike on the hind foot which delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans, they also use it to kill small animals in self defence. Female Platypus are not venomous.
Duck-billed Platypuses live in burrows and spend much of their time in freshwater ponds and streams.
The Platypus is generally regarded as nocturnal and crepuscular (animals that are primarily active during the twilight), but individuals are also active during the day, particularly when the sky is overcast.
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster
The Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster inhabits the steppes of eastern and central Asia, digging burrows which may extend up to three feet underground. These burrows are commonly lined with scavenged shee’s wool and dry grasses. The burrows maintain an average temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Natural predators include various owls, foxes, falcons and weasels.
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dawn and at dusk. Like all hamsters, Campbell’s Dwarf Hamsters are rodents and therefore must gnaw regularly to keep the incisors from growing into the skin of the mouth and causing health problems.
The Jaguar (Panthera onca), is a New World mammal of the ‘Felidae family’. It is one of four ‘big cats’ in the ‘Panthera’ genus, along with the tiger, lion and leopard of the Old World. The jaguar is the third largest feline after the tiger and the lion. The jaguar is the largest and most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere.
Jaguars are carnivores (meat-eaters). Jaguars will eat a variety of animals including birds, eggs and mammals including capybaras, peccaries, tapirs, turtles and alligators. Jaguars often bury their prey after killing it, so that they can eat it later. The jaguar is often described as nocturnal, but is more specifically crepuscular (peak activity around dawn and dusk). The jaguar is an apex predator.
In all deer species (except the reindeer), only the male has antlers. Antlers are shed each Spring and immediately a new set starts to grow, taking 16 weeks to reach full size in August. Antlers are made of a type of dense and very solid bone and whilst growing they are covered with a hairy skin called ‘velvet’ which is shed when the antlers have reached their full size for that year.
The buck or stag uses his antlers to fight other males during the mating season, known as the rut, which lasts for three weeks in October. The ‘rut’ is the period of time when antlered ungulates mate. During the rut (also known as the rutting period), male ungulates often rub their antlers or horns on trees or shrubs, fight with each other and pursue estrus females by their scent.
The Roe Deer is primarily crepuscular (animals that are primarily active during twilight, at dawn and at dusk). Roe deer are very quick and graceful, living in woods, although it may venture to grasslands and sparse forests. They prefer woodland, particularly with open patches of ground and with access to the edges of fields.
British Wild Cat
The Wild Cat (Felis silvestris) is Britain’s only wild member of the cat family and bears a close resemblance to the domestic tabby cat. Now confined to the Scottish highlands, wild cats disappeared from southern England in the 16th century, with the last one recorded in northern England being shot in 1849. The Wildlife and Countryside Act gives strict legal protection to wild cats and their dens.
The Wild cat is extremely timid. It avoids approaching human settlements. The wild cat lives solitarily and holds a territory of about 3 kilometres squared. Males overlap ranges with females, however, females will not overlap ranges with other females.
Wildcats are mainly crepuscular (active during dawn and dusk). As is the case with all the smaller cats, wildcats cannot roar, however, they do use a variety of other sounds to communicate including growling, meowing, purring and hissing.