Life at Night
Photo by Larry Reis
While we return to our homes for rest after a long day, the midnight ecosystem is coming alive. How unfamiliar are we to this enigmatic realm of interaction among nocturnal species and predators gearing up for their first meal. Howling, weaving, stalking while we lay in our beds, unsuspecting of the activity happening outside our windows. Nature does not adhere to the anthropogenic standards of a day’s beginning and end.
Stay still, close your eyes, and listen. The melodic sound of a barn owl, watching over the prairie grasses, ready for flight at any sign of movement. While our hearing is of relatively low caliber, our small, nocturnal counterparts have no issue communicating with those nearby. We are seemingly oblivious to the echolocation just above our heads, as bats streak across the sky after their daytime rest. They, too, are awaiting their chance to come out of the shadows, lunging for unsuspecting prey.
Nocturnal species have some of the most heightened senses of all. These eerie creatures often go unappreciated due to our lack of exposure to them, but their capabilities are astounding. Adaptations like silent flight, wide pupils or even bioluminescence can mean life or death for these animals.
The next time you wander into the dark, stop and investigate those glowing eyes staring back at you. Are they green like a spider? Or perhaps orange like a moth? Or maybe they are something else entirely! Rest assured, setting aside your diurnal nature for one night might prove to be more exciting than you think.