By now, you've certainly heard of the Great Eclipse coming our way next Monday. Some of the biggest questions regarding the eclipse are about what animals will do on that day. We have found the answers to many of these questions and a way YOU can help scientists answer some other questions.
Does an eclipse pose dangers to an animal's eyesight?
Yes. Just like humans, if an animal were to look directly at the sun during a partial eclipse, the bright light would damage the animal's retinas.
Do my pets need eclipse glasses?
No. Despite the above statement, animals don't look directly at the sun. This won't be a concern during the event (but the glasses admittedly look funny on dogs).
Are there any environmental concerns for my pets during the eclipse?
Nothing outside of the norm. Even though it will be the early afternoon, treat it like an evening outing - as the sky darkens and the temperature cools, mosquitoes will be active. As always, keep your pet's insect bite prevention up to date, and protect yourself from potential mosquito-transferred pathogens with a repellant.
Will the eclipse scare animals?
Mostly no. With the exception of individuals with anxiety or panic disorder, animals will generally not be scared at all by an eclipse. Many may be confused by the onset of “nighttime” happening at a time different from expected.
Do animals behave differently during a solar eclipse?
There have been very little data collected on this matter. Reports from the UK indicate that nature became “eerily silent” during an 80% eclipse. Meaning that most animals ignored their internal clock and took the visual queue from the darkened sky that it was night. Birds halted flying and sought their perches and nests; crickets responded to the lower temperature by slowing their chirps and even ceasing after a while; dragonflies hid under leaves like they do every night. Nocturnal animals are expected to become active during the eclipse, so you could witness activity from owls, bats, possums, raccoons, frogs, toads, moths, and various rodents.
Scientists from all over the world hope to take advantage of this opportunity to record behavioral data to better answer this question for the future. Data collection will be occurring in great quantities, and you can contribute to the efforts! The scientific community invites citizens to share their own data to the University of Iowa public observation recording app iNaturalist in regards to the eclipse as well as everyday observations.
CommuniPet invites you to share pets’ responses to the eclipse here after the big event!
Check NASA’s page for details on local events and information regarding the most-anticipated eclipse of our lifetime.