The World’s 20 Coolest Nocturnal Animals

Sloth in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
© Nacho Such/

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: May 22, 2024

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The animal kingdom is extremely diverse. There are so many animals living on this planet that scientists continue to discover new animals every single day. On this planet, we can find ferocious animals roaming around in the savannas of Africa. We can also find amazing creatures living in the tundras of Russia or Canada. The diverse Animal Kingdom ranges from animals that can only live in cold climates to animals that can only survive in tropical climates. Some animals hibernate during winter and others love wintertime. When the sun is out, we can see many animals flying about or roaming around. But there are also nocturnal animals. Humans and the naked eye hardly see these animals. Let’s take a look at the world’s 20 coolest nocturnal animals.


The aye-aye is an animal that is native to Madagascar.

©Frank Vassen / CC BY 2.0, Flickr - Original / License

These small creatures spend 80% of the night wide awake, usually looking for food.


About 300 species of fruits depend on these nocturnal creatures for hibernation.

©Rudmer Zwerver/

Bats are the most famous nocturnal animals. There are around 1,400 species of bats in the world.


There are various species of foxes in the world.


If you live in London, chances are you’ve seen a fox right when the sun starts to set. These creatures are primarily woodland animals, although you can see them in urban settings.


These amazing creatures are native to North America.


Coyotes are usually awake at night and they hunt for food during this time.


There are over 3,500 species of cockroaches in the world.


Cockroaches usually go out at night and live all over the world, but they especially like humid and hot weather.


genet laying across wood beam

The main places the genet loves to live in are vegetated areas.


The common genet is mainly found in Spain, with other places in Europe as well as Africa. The genet hunts mice during the night.


These tiny creatures protect themselves from predators with their quills on their backs.

©Alma, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons - Original / License

Hedgehogs sleep about 18 hours usually throughout the day.


The ocelot is a picky eater and plucks all feathers before eating their prey.

©João Carlos Medau / CC BY 2.0 - Original / License

These creatures may look like cheetahs, but they’re large wild cats that are native to the southwest US, and Central and South America.


Opossums have a whopping 50 teeth.


These creatures are native to the Americas and they usually live only one to two years.


Blakiston's Fish Owl

There are about 250 species of owls in the world.

©feathercollector/iStock via Getty Images

One of the most well-known nocturnal animals, the owl is known to hunt when awake.

Owl Monkey

Azara's night monkey - Aotus azarae in Puerto Maldonado, Peru

The owl monkey is native to tropical regions in South America.

©Marek Stefunko/iStock via Getty Images

Also known as a night monkey, these creatures leave their nests after sunset and only return right before sunrise.

Nine-Banded Armadillo

The armadillo is native to South America, but found elsewhere in the Americas now.


This mammal is usually the size of a cat and eats a variety of insects.


The pangolin is known for its scales and that it can curve itself like a ball.

©Vickey Chauhan/

This creature is native to Asia and Africa, with various species found in each continent.


Slender svelte Spotted-tailed Quoll with distinctive white spots.

The quoll is native to Australia.

©Andreas Ruhz/

There are four species of the quoll and they live in various regions of the continent.


A raccoon steals food from the trash

This animal is common foraging for food in trash cans at night.

©kingma photos/

Raccoons are native to the United States and are known as opportunistic feeders.


Cute Skunk in a Backyard

These smelly creatures are native to the Americas.

©beebatch/iStock via Getty Images

There are 10 species of skunks and they mainly come out at night to hunt for food.

Slow Loris

Animals That Stay Up All Night - Loris

The slow loris is native to South and Southeast Asia.

©hkhtt hj/

The animal’s eyes are adapted to nighttime vision so they can hunt for food and do other activities.


sloth on the ground

The sloth is native to Central America but is also found in several regions of South America.

©Kristel Segeren/

Sloths spend between 15 to 20 hours a day sleeping and are incredibly slow.

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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