Last week was Science Week at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Pubic Library, and Thursday library clerk Heather Heilman and library director Lisa Youngblood presented two virtual programs dedicated to animal science. Specifically, nocturnal animals.
The first program, posted on Thursday morning, was Animal Show and Tell, and Heilman began the short video by telling viewers that nocturnal animals are, “More active at night than they are during the day.” She said animals such as opossums and bats are nocturnal, as is her pet hedgehog, Mini.
Heilman discussed the different adaptations that nocturnal animals.
Some have heightened hearing, some have larger eyes so they will see better at night. And some, like Mini, have a heightened sense of smell. Heilman said Mini has poor eyesight, so, “She sniffs everywhere she goes.”
Mini’s diet consists of cat food and dried meal worms, but Heilman said that in the wild she would typically eat insects. Mini is easy to care for, much like Guinea pigs (Guinea pigs, however, are not nocturnal; they are crepuscular, something that Youngblood would discuss in the Family Night program.)
Youngblood led the Animal Science Family Night program on Thursday evening, and began with the book “Quiet Night” by Marilyn Singer. This counting picture book used rhyme and onomatopoeia to discuss nocturnal animals such frogs, owls, bats, coyotes, raccoons, and mice, to name a few.
After the short story, Youngblood introduced some vocabulary words for viewers. Nocturnal animals, she said, “like to be up during the day.” Diurnal animals, on the other hand, “like to be up during the day.”
Crepuscular animals, “like to be up at twilight,” which she explained meant dawn or dusk. Vespertine animals come out at dusk, and matutinal animals like to up at dawn.
“Some bats are vespertine,” she said.
Youngblood then brought out several puppets, and discussed into which category each animal fell. For instance, rabbits, she said, can be nocturnal or crepuscular, while a snake can be either nocturnal or diurnal.
The Texas state small animal, the armadillo, is mostly nocturnal, and the Texas state large animal, the Texas longhorn, is diurnal.
“I tried to pull out mostly Texas animals,” Youngblood said of her choice of puppets.
As for the program itself, Youngblood said, “It went really well ... It was a really fun program.”
These videos, as well as many other virtual programs can be viewed on the library’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/harkerheightspubliclibrary/posts/ .