Night animals: the secret life in the Amazon

the secret life in the Amazon

At nightfall over the Yasuní National Park, after the rainforest has been covered in darkness, this is the precise moment in which extraordinary creatures begin to awaken. It starts at dusk that a whole world of animals, birds and insects slowly begin to move and, although most of the time this incredible spectacle is usually hidden from the human eye, in the following article we will discover the lives and habits of some amazing beings that hide in the Amazon at night.

All the nocturnal animals that we can find in the Yasuní have at least one feature in common: they have adapted and specialized in moving in through the dark, becoming more agile and clever to survive in a habitat without light; developing new sensitivities.

Tuta Mono

If we talk about nocturnal animals, the first one that springs to mind is the “night monkey”. Although there are more than a hundred different species of monkeys in the Amazon, this is the only one of them that has nocturnal habits. He has managed to adapt in a unique way to live in the dark and goes out to eat while the rest of the primates sleep. Unlike many other nocturnal animals, the “night monkeys” continue to depend on their sight to move among the shadows. In this way, it is possible to characterize them by their large bright eyes, twice as large as the rest of the monkeys, perfectly adapted to see at night.

The color and definition in his eyesight have been depleted as his sensitivity has developed. The retina of their eyes detects even the weakest ray of light, which helps them see the branches and calculate distances in the dark. During the day, however, their big eyes also have the ability to see without any problem, even with all that light. But for the day, they prefer to rest, hidden from their predators.

Due to the few records that are held about this species, it is considered to be one of the least known primates in Ecuador. The density of the population that exists in the area is unknown. They are defined, therefore, as a rare species and that is still under constant study.

Another of the animals that can be found hanging from the trees at nightfall, are the “lazy” sloth tridactyls. Despite their world-famous reputation as “lazy”, these animals remain more awake than asleep hours. Its sleep hours, however, are distributed over several periods, unlike the human, who has only one period of extensive sleep – usually uninterrupted – per day.

Some of the most significant changes that sloths have made to adapt to nightlife is their ability to detect dry or rotten branches when climbing, which facilitates the movement between the trees to find their food. To be able to move without the help of light, a mental map of the route to follow between trees is created. It is interesting to note that these animals also stand out for their amazing memory, so when moving in the dark, the “lazy” sloths know exactly where they are going.

This species spends most of its life hanging from the treetops and it is very difficult to find them at lower or flush levels. This is, without a doubt, another creature that – if luck is with you – is incredible to see in the nights of excursion through the jungle.

Looking among the branches, in addition to these curious mammals, it is also possible to see an extraordinary nocturnal bird that begins to wander among the leaves, in search of food. The “Nictibio“, similar to an owl, is distinguished by its size -of up to 60 centimeters- and its brown and gray plumage, with some feathers flecked with white, which by day allows it to camouflage itself with the trunks of trees, until being almost imperceptible.

This is a solitary bird that feeds on large insects, such as beetles and moths, and even small bats. During night walks through the jungle it is possible to hear their howls, as part of the incomparable night symphony offered by the Amazon.

As the sun’s rays begin to rise, it is possible to see these creatures from another perspective that is just as surprising. If you observe well and search quietly, you can find these nocturnal animals, camouflaged and hidden in their hiding places from their day predators. Whether in holes in the trees, small caves between the branches or even covered between the leaves, these animals find the most ingenious places to sleep, protected from danger.

This is another natural spectacle worth capturing with the lens of the camera, in case of being lucky, appreciating the maximum survival ability that nature has managed to develop: the ability to hide in broad daylight.

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