Celebrated photographer Traer Scott has created detailed portraits of some of the planet's most elusive animals in her new book Nocturne: Creatures Of The Night.

Vampire bats, otters, kangaroo rats, sloths, owls, flying foxes, hedgehogs and a hissing cockroach are all dramatically lit against black backgrounds.

Each portrait is accompanied by information on the animal's habits and habitats. The introduction provides personal insight into how Scott captures her images.

Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
The vampire bat survives solely on animal blood, but, contrary to popular belief, it does not suck the blood from its victims. Instead, the tiny bat uses its razor-sharp, fang-like teeth to make a small incision in the skin and then licks up the animal's blood as it trickles out. The vampire bat's saliva contains an anticoagulant to keep the blood flowing. Vampire bats are strictly nocturnal and are only active at night.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
The giant anteater is generally five to seven feet long and can weigh up to one hundred pounds. It has an elongated snout and a two-foot-long tongue, but no teeth. The anteater uses its sharp claws to rip open termite or ant mounds and then inserts its long snout into the cavity. Huge salivary glands in the mouth produce very sticky saliva that coats the tongue. As the tongue flicks in and out, insects stick to it and are carried into the anteater's mouth. One giant anteater may eat as many as thirty thousand ants in one night! The giant anteater is known to be either nocturnal or diurnal, depending on climate and the proximity of humans, but most sleep during the day and feed after sunset.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Two-toed sloths spend the majority of their lives hanging upside down; they eat, sleep, and even give birth while hanging from tree limbs. The two-toed sloth is found mainly in the jungles of Central and South America, where, moving only when absolutely necessary, its maximum speed is about six feet per minute. It is exclusively nocturnal and generally moves to a different tree each night.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Small-Eared Galagos, more commonly known as bush babies, are tiny African primates that can jump six feet straight up in the air. Long, human-like fingers also help them to hold on as they climb and jump from branch to branch. Galagos are seen almost exclusively at night; the word for this nocturnal animal in the Afrikaans language is nagapie, meaning "little night monkey".Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Indian Flying Fox, one of more than 1,100 species of bats, is also known as the giant fruit bat. Found mainly in tropical forests on the Indian subcontinent, it can have a wingspan of up to six feet while weighing in at just three pounds or less. They leave the roost about an hour after sunset and will often fly up to 40 miles at night to forage for figs, mangoes, bananas, and other ripe fruit.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Serval: These elegant cats were once worshipped by the Egyptians for their grace and strength. Despite being barely twice the size of an average house cat, the serval is the most effective hunter of all wild cats, with successful kills approximately half of the time. (In contrast, lions have a hunting success rate of less than 20%.) With the longest legs relative to body size of any wild cat, the serval is also one of the fastest, able to run at speeds up to fifty miles per hour. Servals are solitary nocturnal hunters; they primarily prey on rodents but are also known to eat birds, reptiles, fish, and frogs.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Opossums: These marsupials have adapted a theatrical defence mechanism when they are threatened or injured: playing dead. Apparent death causes the opossum to appear and smell like a dead or dying animal, thereby deterring predators who generally prefer live prey. An opossum will remain unconscious anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours. These nocturnal foragers have a very flexible diet and are able to eat rodents, vegetables, fruit, insects, slugs, human scraps, cat and dog food, and even the bones of the roadkill they consume.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Hedgehogs roll up into a tight ball when threatened, spines facing outward. The quills – more than seven thousand of them – on a hedgehog's little body not only protect against predators but also help act, paradoxically, as a soft cushion. Though very good at climbing, hedgehogs often have trouble getting back down again. When faced with a tough descent, they may opt to just curl into a ball and drop, allowing the spines to soften their fall. Hedgehogs are nocturnal because most of the tiny animals that they feed on are nocturnal, too. Common night dwellers such as insects, snails, toads, and earthworms make up the bulk of the hedgehog's diet.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
The North American river otter is equally adept on land or in the water. These members of the weasel family have a thick, water-repellent coat that allows them to catch fish and swim even during winter months. River otters are primarily nocturnal in the spring, summer, and autumn but adopt a more diurnal lifestyle in the winter months.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
The raccoon is known for its intelligence, adaptability, and perceived capacity for mischief. A raccoon's hands are very dexterous, making it easy for them to pick up and eat everything from nuts and berries to human garbage. Although much more active at night, raccoons are not strictly nocturnal; often females or juveniles will come out during the daylight hours to forage for food.Traer Scott
Nocturne Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
The cover of Nocturne: Creatures Of The Night by Traer Scott features a fennec fox – the smallest of all fox species. Their disproportionately huge ears serve to keep the fennec from overheating by dissipating body heat, and enhance its exceptional hearing; often these four-pound foxes are able to hear prey underground. Fennecs are found primarily in the deserts of North Africa, where their nocturnal habits help them to evade the searing desert heat.Traer Scott

Nocturne: Creatures Of The Night by Traer Scott is published by Princeton Architectural Press, £12.99.