Whether one considers them spooky or not, nocturnal animals can be fascinating. This is perhaps why these animals were the weekly theme at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library, and why they were they subject of this week’s Science Time.
Library clerk Heather Heilman began the short virtual program by introducing some nocturnal animals she had brought with her (plush this time): an armadillo, an opossum, and, adorning her wrist, a bat.
She asked the question, what is a nocturnal animal? The answer, she said, is that they “Are much more active at night that they are during the daytime ... That’s when they’re eating or around more.”
She said members of the military have to adapt to see at night using night vision goggles. Nocturnal animals, on the other hand, have natural adaptations to help them get around at night.
For instance, many have larger eyes, like owls, or flying squirrels. Many have pupils that get larger, allowing more light in and enabling them to see better nocturnally.
Other adaptations that animals have are heightened hearing (such as bats, who use sonar, or echolocation; still others have cupped ears to help them hear better, such as opossums), heightened smell (like Heilman’s own pet hedgehog; foxes and raccoons are other examples of animals that rely more heavily on smell), or even heightened taste.
Some, Heilman said, have long whiskers to help them feel around, like the opossum, and some, like spiders, have fine hairs on their bodies to help them feel vibrations.
“It’s pretty cool to realize that they (nocturnal animals) were built specifically for the ability to live and come out and hunt, and things like that during the nighttime,” Heilman concluded.
Watch the video on the library’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/harkerheightspubliclibrary/videos/998620707216139.
Science times are held every Wednesday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. on the library’s Facebook page.