Animal behavior may change during solar eclipse in August - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Animal behavior may change during solar eclipse in August

(NBC News) -

Cats freaking out, animals going to sleep at strange times, these are all things you may have heard will happen during an solar eclipse.

And as you know by now, we are going to get one on August 21.

So will animals really react this way?

Leslie Trabant knows how she is going to prepare for the solar eclipse.

"I'm going to get my fancy glasses."

But as a retired field biologist she can't help but wonder how the animals at the Oregon zoo - who really can't prepare for it - will react.

"They might get a little confused when that happens," 

"We'll be watching their behavior for sure"

Dr. Don Moore, the zoo's director says wild animals have evolved to light and dark cycles.

The eclipse will be an unexpected dark cycle.

Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director said, "We might see active animals going to sleep during the eclipse when they might now normally go to sleep... we might see animals kind of get a little bit nervous during the eclipse" 

Here in Portland about 99 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.

Dr. Moore says, as a result, some animals may behave as if it were dusk.

Some birds will likely get quieter, lions may act more predatory, or elephants may think its dinner time and start looking for food.

But the mostly likely scenario? 

Normally active animals may go to sleep.

Dr. Moore said, "We have reports that hoofed animals go and lie down at an unusual time when the suns is darkened"

But what about the less wild animals.

Like your pets?

Dr. Moore said, "What I do see is my dog taking a nap." 

Dr. Moore says, that very well could happen, your pet may also think its night-time, and act accordingly.

Dr. Moore said, "During the last eclipse that I was involved in, my Labrador just slept through it." 

Dr. Moore says - because the eclipse is such a short event, many animals may not even pay attention to it.

So - his advice to all animal owners out there?

Dr. Moore said, "I think just continue your normal day and keep calm and carry on."

Dr. Moore points out- wild animals like these - will be the most impacted.

Again - he doesn't expect that impact to be all that great, but he says, these animals could surprise him.

He also points out the zoo will be open on eclipse morning, and he encourages people to come and check out the animals' behavior - themselves. 

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