The word “crepuscular” is derived from the Latin word crepusculum, which means twilight. The term refers to those animals that are active during what we humans think of as dusk and dawn. These creatures often search for prey at night or hide themselves in their daytime shelters. Though they may not be as well-known as diurnal (meaning day) animals such as birds, lizards and cats, there are many species of crepuscular animals. Let’s look at some of examples!
13 Types of Crepuscular Animals
Crepuscular vs. Nocturnal
Many people get confused between crepuscular and nocturnal animals, which can cause some inaccuracies about what these creatures do during the day or what they are active. Crepuscular animals are not night owls – these creatures sleep during what we consider nighttime hours, and they also enjoy their naps.
Nocturnal, on the other hand, means that an animal prefers to be awake at night instead of day, so this type of creature may be active during what we consider to be the night hours. This type of behavior is typically common in what are called “predators” or hunters who rely on their ability to see at night and hunt for prey under cover of darkness!
Insects, which lay eggs instead of sleeping through a complete cycle like mammals do, may also have this crepuscular behavior, which is what we see in what are called “diurnal” in “crepuscular” insects.
1 – Bobcats
So, what animals are crepuscular? For instance, what about the bobcat? This feline is crepuscular and even though they are solitary creatures that hunt alone at night or in the twilight hours, you may find them napping during the daytime.
2 – Opossums
Most people haven’t heard of opossums being nocturnal (meaning active at night), but this creature is also crepuscular. Like the bobcat, opossums like to hunt at night or during what we consider twilight hours, but they also enjoy sleeping in their daytime shelters, which are hollow trees and logs.
3 – Coyotes
What about another common animal that is crepuscular? Coyotes! These creatures of the wild hunt for prey either around dusk or dawn (or what we consider the crepuscular hours) and in what is called a “stalking mode”. This type of behavior allows them to sneak up on their prey and usually results in successful hunting.
4 – Red foxes
Red foxes are the most common types of foxes in North America, and are also crepuscular. They may be found hunting for prey at dawn or dusk. While some species like the red fox are primarily crepuscular, other species of fox like the Arctic fox are nocturnal.
5 – Bats
When some people think of bats, they immediately imagine them sleeping during the day and flying around at night. However, what many people don’t realize is that there are some species of bats that prefer to sleep during the day and fly around at twilight instead—this is what we call crepuscular behavior!
6 – Hamsters
Crepuscular behavior is what we see in the common household pet, the hamster. These creatures like to sleep during the daytime and can be seen running around on their wheels at night! They vary depending on what type of habitat they live in, but typically, these rodents are active between dusk and dawn.
7 – House cats
We can’t forget what many consider to be the most perfect crepuscular pet, the house cat! These creatures are known for being active at dusk and dawn, but they also love napping during what we might call “siesta time” in the afternoon.
8 – Rabbits
What about what many consider to be another household pet—the rabbit? These creatures are also crepuscular and like what we see in cats. They will nap during the day as well and are more active in the mornings and evenings.
9 – Ferrets
Another common pet that is crepuscular are ferrets. These creatures of the wild sleep during what we consider daytime hours but can be seen running around at dawn or dusk instead with their silly antics.
10 – Jaguars
Even what are considered some of the biggest cats on Earth are crepuscular. Jaguars, which can weigh up to 210 pounds, are apex predators that hunt for prey around dusk or dawn and they also enjoy taking their daytime naps in what we consider unusual spots – high in trees!
11 – Wolves
Some of the most feared predators on Earth are crepuscular. Wolves hunt for prey around what we consider dusk or dawn hours, but these pack animals also enjoy taking their daytime naps in what they call a “denning spot“.
12 – Ocelots
These creatures hunt for prey around what we might call dusk or dawn, but they also enjoy taking their daytime naps in their denning spot, which can be hollow logs! This makes it quite a surprise for those that see them in the wild, as they are quiet and are shy.
13 – Lynxes
Lynxes may be what we consider solitary creatures, but these feline hunters are also what we call crepuscular. These creatures hunt for what is considered dusk or dawn, but they also enjoy taking their naps in tree hollows.