Can You Identify All of These Nocturnal Animals From a Photo?


By: Amanda Monell

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

When you were a child, did you sleep with one eye open after seeing a scary movie or cartoon, or after reading a scary book?  If so, you probably have a vivid imagination; however, you should know you weren't alone. When you weren't frightened of that, perhaps you made sure your nightlight on and your covers were concealing you from head to toe, even in the summer: there were monsters under the bed or in your closet, lurking and waiting to gobble you up!  But thankfully, "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak was brought to your attention, because those monsters suddenly became your friends. And if you weren't old enough to read the book (or have the book read to you), there was a movie released in 2009 featuring all the same themes. 

Just like those monsters, nocturnal animals have been demonized in literature for centuries. Remember Little Red Riding Hood?   Because she was so sweet and trusting, she ended up being gobbled up by the Big Bad Wolf. To top things off, this wolf must have had a HUGE appetite: he feasted on the Three Little Pigs before hitting grandmother's house for his dinner. Just like Maurice Sendak, Jon Scieszka attempted to remove the terror of the Big Bad Wolf with his book "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!," which was met with rave reviews.

Wolves typically live in packs, and almost all attacks on humans happen because they are provoked or because they are fighting for their lives.  Kinda makes you sympathize with this demonized creature, doesn't it?  

Perhaps the things that go bump in the night deserve a second look as well.  So strap on your night vision goggles and tackle this quiz... if you dare!

Four out of five of the fastest land animals live in Africa. What animal is this African native?

While the spotted hyena is known as a loud laughing creature, the striped hyena is known as being a stealthy hunter. Their front legs are much longer than their hind legs.


With their retractable claws, cats can be adorable the first minute, deadly the next. Which feline is this?

The smallest of the cats living in Africa, the black footed cat can reach a whopping four pounds as an adult. To put this into perspective, a typical house cat should weigh between nine and 11 pounds, twice this kitty's size!


One benefit of being a nocturnal animal is that there is less competition for prey. Do you know the name of this hunter?

Four different species of skunk dwell in North America. They used to be considered part of the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels and badgers, but now are separately classified as Mephitidae. If you play golf, don't be surprised if during the summer you see divots or holes on the course: a skunk was just digging for a meal of grubs or other insects.


As fellow primates, we humans should identify with the creature pictured. Which primate is this?

The night monkey, sometimes referred to the owl monkey, is a very romantic animal. The owl monkey is one of the 5% of animals that are monogamous: not only do these animals love each other and raise their infants together, but if you have a monogamous pair, they'll be able to create 25% more infants than other pairs.


For every diurnal (daytime dwelling) animal, there is a nocturnal one: butterflies are seen during the day and moths are usually seen at night. What is this nocturnal creature?

The black-footed ferret is classed as an extremely endangered species by the World Wildlife Foundation. One of the main reasons why the black footed ferret is so rare and near extinction is because 90% of their diet is prairie dogs, and humans are constantly taking over their habitats.


Many nocturnal animals use their time awake to help secure a location to birth their young. What animal is this?

The only marsupial in North America is the Virginia opossum, which only lives one to two years in the wild. Many think of rabies when they see these animals; however, their body temperature is generally too low to germinate the disease.


Catnip is an olfactory delight to most felines, both big and small. Which playful pouncer is this?

As the largest member of the cat family, tigers are an endangered species because of a high demand from humans. As of 2018 there are only 2,500 of these creatures in the wild: their habitat covers China, Bangladesh, Nepal and other Asian countries.


Musophobia is the fear of mice and rats. That being said, what is the name of this creature that may cause your musophobia to act up?

Many people tend to get mice and rats confused; however, there are many things that make make them different. Mice are smaller overall than rats - they can weigh up to one ounce, as opposed to rats, which can weigh up to 12 ounces. Mice tend to have pointy noses, small tails, and tiny hands. Rats have broad noses, wide tails and proportionate hands.


When he made his premiere in 1940, no one knew that Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes friends would make such an impact on society. One of these well-known characters is the name of a nocturnal animal as well. Which one is it?

From the beginning, the Tasmanian devil is born fighting. The mother has a pouch, but with only four teats. A Tasmanian devil has up to 50 babies at once! These babies (called imps or joeys) must compete to get to one of the four teats inside of their mother's pouch. Once grown, their ill temper makes them perfect for solitary life.


A perk of being a nocturnal animal is that it is easier to hide from other animals in the dark. Which animal is this?

What do badgers have in common with prairie dogs? They both live in a complex burrow, which in a badger's case is called a sett. Setts are kind of like apartments in populated areas - they've been grandfathered from one generation to the next, with many of them being hundreds of years old.


Which Australian native is this?

Because wombats look like a mix between a bear, gopher and pig, it takes a certain type of person to admire the wombat. These creatures can weigh between 55 and 88 pounds. They live in burrows and tend to come out at night to feast on vegetation, which helps hydrate them. There have been studies that have shown that wombats can go a couple years without actually drinking water.


When it comes to nocturnal animals, cats are some of the first animals one considers. What kind of cat is this?

While many identify with the domesticated house cat, feral cats are prevalent in areas populated by humans. Most feral cats have a shortened lifespan - a typical domestic cat can live up to 20 years, while a feral cat may live only two years. Usually in bigger cities there are programs called TNRs, which stands for Trap-Neuter-Release. This reduces the cat population.


A perk that nocturnal animals have over diurnal animals is that cooler temperatures typically occur at night. Which cool critter is this?

Even though there are 20 different species of armadillo, the nine-banded armadillo is the only one that is native to the United States. Their usual habitat was the southeastern part of the U.S., however, there has been and increase in their ranges over the past 100 years. A few of the nine-band armadillos have been seen as far north as Illinois, and scientists speculate that global warming may make their habitat increase even more.


Which nocturnal creature is shown here?

Even though they are primarily nocturnal, you may see a raccoon out during the daylight hours. This isn't typically because they are considered rabid, but because they may need a little something extra. This is especially true among nursing raccoons, who need extra nutrition to help raise their kits. If you see a raccoon at any time of day, you shouldn't approach it - they just want to be left alone.


What sort of nocturnal creature is shown here?

The aye-aye is an endangered species of lemur, located in Madagascar. It is the only primate that uses echolocation for finding food. By using its middle finger, it thumps on trees in the rainforest to listen for activity from from wood-boring larvae that live under the bark. That same finger is used to fish out the insects for a delicious meal.


What animal (that is also the name of a fruit) is this?

Native to New Zealand, the kiwi is a very strange little bird. Only coming out at night, this bird is practically wingless, with tiny nubs for wings clinging close to its body. Some consider kiwis to be honorary mammals because they have many similarities to mammals: their leg bones are filled with marrow, females have two ovaries, and their plumage is very hairlike.


Which animal is this?

Minks are in the same family as weasels, ferrets and ermines. There are two specific breeds: the American mink and the European mink. While the American mink is thriving and not near being endangered, its European cousin is in the critically endangered status.


Which of the below would you be able to identify on a dinner plate?

These scrumptious crustaceans, when you're not dipping them in butter, are interesting creatures. Before they're cooked, they aren't red at all; their bodies are a muddy brownish yellow and in some rare occasions blue. Female lobsters can choose when they want to fertilize their eggs by carrying around their mate's sperm until the time is right. Lobsters will eat other lobsters on occasion.


There are several differences between diurnal fish and their nocturnal relatives. Swim speed is one of them: nocturnal fish swim slower than diurnal ones. Which slow swimmer is this?

Looking like a mix between a pine cone and a pineapple, the pinecone fish can be as bright as a neon light in the night water. Phosphorescent organs on either side of the jaw help give them their glow . When the organs vibrate, it activates bacteria living on them to glow. This draws in plankton for its evening meals. Don't be fooled though; even though predators can see the pinecone fish as bright as day to eat, they have enlarged spines that would make swallowing them a bit of a chore.


Reptiles are some of the oldest creatures on the planet. Which reptile is this?

Increasing in popularity, the fat-tailed gecko is being sought after as a pet. With their mild disposition and ability to thrive in captivity, these pets are great for kids. But be forewarned, these guys can live up to 15 to 20 years if properly cared for.


What ferocious feline is this?

The sand cat is one of the most difficult cats for scientists to study in the wild for several reasons: their foot coverings are designed to not sink into the desert sand, where they live, which makes finding footprints nearly impossible. On top of this, they've learned to hide from lights by crouching down and shutting their eyes, making their sandy colored coat the ideal camouflage for a desert night.


Bats live in caves, owls can live in hollowed trees or barns, and skunks live almost anywhere. Which of nature's architects is this animal?

When nature's construction workers, the beaver, starts to build, it makes a dam to create its favorite place to live - a pond. These creatures are insanely innovative. While they weave twigs to make their dams, they also use mud to waterproof.


When Pepe the King Prawn made his debut on "Muppets Tonight" in 1996, many people mistook him for one of these creatures. Do you recall which one it was?

If you ever wondered what your dentist was in their previous life, you could accurately guess a cleaning shrimp. Many different breeds of shrimp dance around, signalling to bigger fish that they're looking for them. Why? So they can get in the bigger fishes' mouths to dine on parasites and dead skin. The coral shrimp that lives in the Indo-Pacific region will do something similar to coral: eat mucus buildup and in exchange, protect the coral from predators.


Can you tell us the name of this owl?

With a height between 24 and 33 inches, the great gray owl is one of the largest. They may look like they're big and stocky, but bear in mind that a lot of that is from their fluffy feathers. These birds are fairly elusive: they prefer dense forests away from the hubbub of civilization.


Which animal, somewhat popular as a pet, is this?

Even though they look like porcupines, hedgehogs are quite different. Hedgehogs have shorter quills that are not made to easily detach, and hedgehogs are smaller. Hedgehogs are becoming a new pet option for many. However, before getting one of these guys, make sure it is legal in your state.


Do you know what creature this is?

The two-toed sloth is so slow that it actually grows algae on its fur because of its inactivity. They live in trees and sleep a lot: an average day for a sloth usually includes a 15 to 20 hour nap time. When they are awake, they may as well have been sleeping: they aren't for moving much at all.


Which animal from Australia is this?

At one time, the long-nosed bandicoot had a decent sized population in Sydney, Australia. Even though they breed continuously throughout the year and have the shortest gestation period for any mammal - 12.5 days - urbanization, predator introduction and poor driving have made this creature one of the most endangered species in Australia.


Which spiky animal is this?

Believe it or not, the temperament of a porcupine is considered benevolent. Unless provoked, these nearsighted creatures meander around and eat vegetation. But if provoked, a porcupine will launch several of its quills at the threatening party. Given that a typical porcupine has up to 30,000 quills on its body, it isn't going to be pleasant to remove these projectiles.


The American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 breeds of dogs. Would you be able to tell which dog this is?

While many dogs are considered diurnal (awake during the day), the Great Pyrenees thrives at night. When they first came into existence (fossils date this breed between 1000 and 1500 B.C), they were guard dogs who helped keep their owners' herds safe while the owners slept. Because of this, today, they're prone to get more active at night, but these furry giants are also known for revitalizing the St. Bernard breed: in the 1870s they were used to help restore the dwindling breed, which had fallen to avalanches and distemper in Switzerland.


Which species of frog is also the mascot for the Rainforest Cafe?

Native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, the red-eyed frog fascinatingly uses its colors. A red-eyed frog will use its bright red eyes and colorful legs to attempt to surprise predators. This is called startle confusion.


A nocturnal fish has bigger eyes than the diurnal fish. So can you spot the correct nocturnal fish?

The electric eel is not actually classified as being in the eel family. It is a relative of the carp and catfish families. However, this creature's name isn't 100% misleading: an electric eel can have a charge of up to 600 volts, which is enough to knock a horse off its feet!


What kind of snake is this?

Found in British Columbia and some parts of the United States, the night snake is a master of camouflage, and it lives in mountain meadows, bushlands, and near rivers. When it is threatened it flattens its body and shakes its tail, just like a rattlesnake. The night snake's saliva carries venom, but it is harmless to humans.


Bats make up 1/5 of the mammal population on the planet. Which bat is this?

The fruit bat lives primarily in Asia and is also referred to as a flying fox bat, due to its fox-shaped face. It is one of the largest bats, with a wingspan of up to five feet. Unlike other bats, fruit bats do not see using sonar: they've got average eyesight, mostly because their prey doesn't move.


Many animals are misrepresented in literature and media. What misunderstood animal is this?

Wolf packs have a complex social structure: the leader of the pack is known as an alpha male and his mate is known as the alpha female. However, this theory is disputed by many experts. When pups are born, they often get free reign over the pack: they're considered the next leaders and just like kids, they get away with a lot!


One reason why rodents need to gnaw is that their teeth never stop growing. Which creature with a never-ending supply of dental material is this?

While many grimace when they encounter a rat, they're missing out on a treat when it comes to owning a pet rat. They are very social animals, enjoying the company of humans as well as other rats, and are extremely intelligent - they can pick up working a puzzle as well as tricks that dogs commonly learn. And lastly, they're extremely flexible time-wise. You can look forward to some snuggle or interactions with your pet rat when you wake up in the morning or before bed: they adjust to their owner's schedule.


Some nocturnal birds have special feather linings that make their wings soundless when they fly. Which bird do you think this is?

Known for its massive feather tufts on either side of its head, the great horned owl is basically all fluff: it weighs between two and five pounds. With a wingspan of between three and four feet, we're guessing that most of that weight is in their wings. If you're looking for the natural predator of the skunk, look to the sky, because the great horned owl is one of the only creatures that would eat one.


Which scaled nocturnal creature is this?

The scorpionfish is an amazing creature with the ability to blend into its surroundings, which in this case is the rocky bottoms of South Pacific and Indian oceans. One of its best skills is the sit-and-wait ambush. Because it blends in so well, the scorpionfish has the opportunity to strike whenever dinner approaches. Armed with venom-filled spines, this fish is the perfect underwater assassin.


Which Madagascar native is this?

The slow loris is periodically slow. When it deems the time is necessary, it will burst into a higher speed to get to whatever prey it is hunting. Even though they are cute to look at, the best thing to do is admire them from afar. When they go to attack their prey, they lick a gland under their arms, which when the secretion is mixed with saliva, creates a poison.


What kind of owl is this?

In 2007, the barn owl was voted as Britain's Favorite Farmland Bird in a public poll conducted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. At one point, these owls were the most common in England; however now only one in 75 farms can say they have owls. If you want to help the owls in your area, switch to non-fatal rodenticide.


Some scientists speculate that there are about 1,200 species of bat on the planet. Which bat is this one?

Unlike the vampire bats found in movies, vampire bats aren't interested in humans if other prey is available. Stalking livestock while they sleep is one of their favorite ways to get their meals: after they bite their victims, they drink the freely flowing blood. This is not a fatal activity, but vampire bats are carriers of rabies.


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