Animals and the solar eclipse: How are they affected?

How will the animals react, when day suddenly turns to night?

In a little over two weeks, the country will get a viewing experience a century in the making - but what should we expect for the pets and animals around us?

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will move across the United States. But as Mother Nature Network reports, the viewing experience will be a much different experience for humans and animals. The website notes several things to keep an eye out for whether you're at home with your cat, or out in the wild with hidden beasts.

Pets

According to the Mother Nature Network, dogs and cats may be frightened or confused by the total solar eclipse. They note it may not be any different than their reactions to fireworks or other loud noises, regardless of the fact an eclipse is a silent event. They suggest keeping pets leashed during totality just to be safe.

Additionally, pets, in general, are likely to be spooked not by the sky, but by what's on the ground. Keep an eye out for your location when you're out and about viewing the totality just in case your pet gets scared from the noises surrounding them.

Experts are torn on the use of eye protection for animals, although one official thinks all the fuss is nothing to worry about.

"On a normal day, your pets don't try to look at the sun, and therefore don't damage their eyes. On this day, they're not going to do it either," said Angela Speck, director of astronomy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "I'm not going to worry about my cat."

Wildlife

Animals out in the wild have a different plan of action to totality, although it's not something they choose to do on purpose. For example, birds will treat the solar eclipse as if its's the morning, despite totality occurring during dusk - their time of the day to quiet down. But, as the blog says, "This disruption is brief, though, and reportedly doesn't throw off the birds' internal clocks or the broad patterns that dictate things like migration."

Other creatures react differently. During a solar eclipse in 1991, some orb-weaving spiders were observed acting normally until totality, taking their webs down, just to rebuild them once the sun appeared the next morning. Meanwhile, crickets, frogs, and mosquitos may start their evening duties.

Meanwhile, nocturnal animals such as bats and owls have reportedly stayed active during totality.

Other animals

Farm and zoo animals have a history of acting peculiar during solar eclipses. One report noted an incident in Germany in 1999 when animals "hid in protected areas because they expect it to rain."

"[D]uring the period of maximum eclipse, the animals continued to orient their bodies toward the sun and moon and to turn their faces upward," said a group of researchers. "One juvenile stood upright and gestured in the direction of the sun and moon."

For more, read the Mother Nature Network's post on their website.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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