Home Page
25 Jan 13

Shedding Light on Creatures of the Dark

An exhibition of nocturnal creatures at the Natural History Museum explains how and why some birds, animals and insects opted for life in the dark.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN Belgrade

The exhibition “From Dusk to Dawn“ (“Od sumraka do svitanja”) displays some 50 different creatures that live by night from January 23 to June.

All of the specimens belong to museum collections and were selected by ornithologist Marko Rakovic to provide a deeper insight into why some animals that were previously active during daytime, like the iconic kiwi of New Zealand, changed their habits.

Unlike people, who rely on eyesight for about 80 per cent of their perception of the world around them, some animals depend more on hearing, smell, or echoes.

Night is the time when these animals hunt for prey or reproduce, while by day they mostly rest, well hidden in their shelters.

Among the night creatures on show are various insects, bats, small rodents and some species of bird that adapted to night living by imitating the night mammals and insects that they rely on for food.

Many animals adapted special skills in order to live at night: almost perfect sense of smell, noiseless flight or walk and sensitive feelers.

Because of their mysterious life, which people can only imagine by listening to the strange sounds coming from the darkness, many of these animals became parts of folklore and were ascribed with supernatural powers.

Howls represented a sign of magic and sometimes foretold death. The eerie-sounding nightjar, the Leganj in Serbian, was even believed to suck the milk of goats.

Romans believed that salamanders were born and lived in fire.

It was also believed that a wolf’s skull and the wing of a bat had magical powers.

The exhibition presents species that mostly live in the Balkans, but also in other places. Selected birds include screech owls, tawny owls, long-tailed owls, little owls, nightjars, nightingales and kiwis; mammals include bats, wolves, wild boars, hedgehogs, badgers and pine martens.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Culture Policy Focus

02 Feb 18

Montenegro Turns Blind Eye to Deep-Sea Treasure Hunters

As organised thieves target Montenegro’s marine heritage, an investigation by CIN-CG/BIRN reveals that no one is being held accountable for this pillage - and the government has failed to protect these sites from devastation.

23 Jun 17

Romanian Top Filmmakers Fight for Reform

05 May 17

Bosnian Savours Success on Europe's Catwalks

22 Mar 17

Vanished Mural Sparks Protests in Novi Sad

28 Dec 16

Ringing in 2017, Balkan-style

20 Dec 16

Hidden Treasures of Belgrade’s Museum Scene


/en/file/show//Images/Images.New/Bloggers/Nora Weller 300.jpg
21 Dec 17

Serbia Must Return Kosovo’s Cultural Treasures

Kosovo needs to step up its campaign to ensure the return of important cultural artefacts that were removed before, during and after the war, and are now being kept by Serbia.


08 Jan 14

Retracing Edith Durham’s steps

22 Apr 13

Cheap and Cheery Beers in the Office

18 Mar 13

Diagnosing Kosovo