A look at some animals that are active at night, and have to remain as quiet as possible. Barn owls are seen hunting silently, while voles make very little noise to avoid detection. A bat uses its specially adapted large ears to listen for moths. Fishing cats stalk their prey without making a sound. As daylight comes, the volume level increases. Birds sing in the 'dawn chorus'. A lyre bird mimics the call of a kookaburra. It also copies the sounds of a car alarm, camera and chainsaw. Howler monkeys demonstrate why they are some of the noisiest animals on the planet.

First broadcast:
24 February 2007

After viewing, students could name all the ways in which the nocturnal animals shown in the clip are adapted for night-time living. They could brainstorm possible advantages which nocturnal animals have over diurnal animals in terms of locating prey or avoiding hunters. How do nocturnal animals compare to diurnal animals in terms of their behavioural and physical characteristics? Students might mention a cat's excellent night vision, or the badger's stripes, that are bold and easy to spot in the daylight but resemble moonlit shadows at night. Do any nocturnal animals share characteristics, even if they are from completely different species? For example, a highly developed sense of smell or hearing?

Ask students to imagine a creature that is perfectly adapted to nocturnal living. They could draw their creature and label all its features.