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Into the Night

Tales of Nocturnal Wildlife Expeditions

Rick Adams

Publication Year: 2013

This entertaining collection of essays from professional scientists and naturalists provides an enlightening look at the lives of field biologists with a passion for the hidden world of nocturnal wildlife. Into the Night explores the harrowing, fascinating, amusing, and largely unheard personal experiences of scientists willing to forsake the safety of daylight to document the natural history of these uniquely adapted animals.

Contributors tell of confronting North American bears, cougars, and rattlesnakes; suffering red ctenid spider bites in the tropical rain forest; swimming through layers of feeding-frenzied hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos; evading the wrath of African bull elephants in South Africa; and delighting in the curious and gentle nature of foxes and unconditional acceptance by a family of owls. They describe “fire in the sky” across a treeless tundra, a sea ablaze with bioluminescent algae, nighttime earthquakes on the Pacific Rim, and hurricanes and erupting volcanoes on a Caribbean island.

Into the Night reveals rare and unexpected insights into nocturnal field research, illuminating experiences, discoveries, and challenges faced by intrepid biologists studying nature’s nightly marvels across the globe. This volume will be of interest to scientists and general readers alike.

Published by: University Press of Colorado

Cover

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

Loren Eiseley, the great naturalist and insomniac, wrote: “[B]ut in the city or the country small things important to our lives have no reporter except as he who does not sleep may observe them. And that man must be disencumbered of reality. He must have no commitment to the dark ...

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1. Waiting for Long-eared Owls

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pp. 1-18

I spent my first night at Pine Lake, a peaceful oasis in the Nebraska Sandhills, twenty years ago. I pitched my blue dome tent in a hillside grove of ponderosa pines, where I could gaze out across the water to the empty grass-covered dunes that rolled and tumbled toward the eastern horizon....

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2. African Nights among Fruit Bats, Fig Trees, and Elephants

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pp. 19-40

Imagine you are in a car in the blackness of night in wildest South Africa. The engine is off, and you and your companions sit quietly. You peer out of the window at the dead-end dirt road ahead. You hear grunts, howls, roars, snorts, and other animal noises from the direction ...

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3. Undersea at Night in Darwin’s Galapagos

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pp. 41-70

We descend into the sea as a group, shivering and holding hands and looking at each other like deer in headlights. It occurs to me, as I’m sure it occurs to each of the group members: Why on earth are we doing this? I think that we have finally gone too far. I wonder, When did we cross the line separating daring from stupidity? When the headlines...

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4. Chasing Nightly Marvels in the Rocky Mountains

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pp. 71-98

Dusk. Kate and I are hiking into the eastern foothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains. As shadows lengthen, the woods begin to come alive with animals accustomed to working the night shift. A towering thunderhead lights up and bellows above, momentarily spinning dusk back to familiar day. But darkness is winning the hour. From a distance, ...

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5. Nights on the Equator

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pp. 99-120

Bzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzz.
A common sound in the tropical night. Too common. Much too common. Actually, too common anywhere. At least according to everyone I know, or have ever met, or anyone sane.
Bzzzzz....

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6. Do Not Go Gentle into That Tropical Night

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pp. 121-134

I have always been afraid of the dark. So not only is it ironic that I work at night a great deal, it is also odd that I work in the dim dank understory of tropical forests. Despite the numerous gaps, edges, rivers, and clearings, it always seems dark in the rainforest, where the green walls press in on all sides. Nights in those green cages offer a special...

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7. Nights: From South to North, Hot to Cold

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pp. 135-166

It was darker than a black desert night in Texas. There was a new moon, thick clouds, and my AA-battery ultraviolet light shed a beach ball–sized circle of light. Beyond the light’s reach, I heard it: the fast rattling buzz of a black-tailed rattlesnake....

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8. Volcanoes and Fruit Bats

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pp. 167-190

The volcano had been grumbling for several hours, rolling great glowing boulders down the flanks of its steep slopes in my general direction. It was July 1997 and I was nearing the end of a very long night after a very long day. I tried not to take any of this too personally as the volcano was nearly two miles away. Still I was mesmerized. Standing ...

Contributors

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pp. 191-194


E-ISBN-13: 9781607322702
E-ISBN-10: 1607322706
Print-ISBN-13: 9781607322696
Print-ISBN-10: 1607322692

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 54
Publication Year: 2013

Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth