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Night Shift Animals

June 15, 2018

Many mammals avoid humans by seeking the cover of night.

Transcript

Coyotes are one of many mammal species that alter their 24-hour activity patterns in response to human disturbance. (Skeeze/Piabay/CCO)

Coyotes are one of many mammal species that alter their 24-hour activity patterns in response to human disturbance. (Skeeze/Piabay/CCO)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Animals take the night shift. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Humans have forced animals to become more nocturnal in their habits, according to a study in the journal Science.

KAITLYN GAYNOR (UC Berkeley):

So because people are scary to animals, animals often seek to avoid people. And since people are active mostly during the daytime, what this might mean is that animals are seeking out refuge in the night.

HIRSHON:

That’s UC Berkeley behavioral ecologist Kaitlyn Gaynor. Her team analyzed the daily activity patterns of 62 mammals – from the common opossum to the African elephant – and found that normally nocturnal species become even more nocturnal in response to human disturbance. And even those species active during the day shifted their activity to dawn and dusk. Gaynor says some animals are better able to adapt to the schedule than others, and notes that all of us should be aware of our potential impact, even if we don’t threaten animals  directly. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard