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Nature & You: Secretive night creatures can be detected by their eye shine

Nighttime nature walks with a flashlight might catch the glint from a kangaroo rat's eyes. [US FISH AND WILDLIFE PHOTO]

Nighttime nature walks with a flashlight might catch the glint from a kangaroo rat's eyes. [US FISH AND WILDLIFE PHOTO]

Night creatures can be detected by their eye shine

Your marching orders for today are for you to, post haste, get yourself to the store. In particular, you need to peruse the wide selection of flashlights and headlamps that are available for purchase. Take a close look at those that have LED bulbs and a spotlight-beam feature.

Make your choice, pay the fee and take your treasure home. You are now in possession of a magical device.

You'll be in need of a short tutorial. Step No. 1 is to venture outdoors. Do so in the dark of night. Be sure to pick a night when your surroundings are as black as squid ink.

Progress on to step No. 2. Put the spotlight device up alongside your temple. Point the beam of light in the direction of your line of sight.

Step No. 3 is for you to pay attention to any objects that seem to be glowing in the landscape. There is no need to be scared. It could be something as innocent as the light that is reflected back to you from the eyes of tiny spiders that are hiding in your lawn. Go check it out. Walk forward until you see what it is.

If you are game for a much more exciting adventure, you might want to take a family vacation out to the northwestern corner of our state. There are a couple of state parks up there that feature immense expanses of sand dunes. If you go exploring there at night with your temple-positioned spotlight, you might be surprised to see kangaroos.

Spoiler alert: I am just puling your leg!

These night creatures of the sand dunes just look like miniature kangaroos. Their common name is kangaroo rats.

I wish all of you nature detectives well as you go exploring Ma Nature's nighttime world.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›

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