When’s the last time you went on a night hike? Nighttime is a great opportunity to learn about wildlife, to conquer fear of the dark, and to understand how our eyes work. Night hikes build important outdoor skills and hone your powers of observation.
I have created an outline to use in preparing for a night hike, here’s an excerpt –
Humans do not see colors well at night. The retina contains two types of photoreceptor (light sensitive) cells, rods and cones. The rods are more numerous, some 120 million, and are more sensitive than the cones. However, they are not sensitive to color. The 6 to 7 million cones provide the eye’s color sensitivity.
In order to survive at night nocturnal animals have to find food in the dark. Some have developed a highly-advanced sense of smell or specialized hearing abilities such the echolocation used by some bats. Others acquired eye adaptations for improved night vision.
Nocturnal animals generally have proportionately larger eyes, with wider pupils and larger lenses that can collect more light. For example, an owl’s eyes fill over one half its skull. Many nocturnal animals cannot move their eyes within the orbit. Instead, they have evolved extraordinary rotational ability in the neck. Owls can rotate their neck through 270°.
Download the Night Hike outline PDF file below formatted for 8 1/2 x 11 paper.
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