What Animal Owners Need to Know About their Pets Before the Eclipse
Some zoos across the country will be holding public events to watch animal behavior during the eclipse.
As an historic total solar eclipse will play out across the U.S. Monday, many Americans have concerns about how their pets and other animals may react to the phenomenon.
At the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida, an animal behavior analyst will be collecting data on how the creatures inside the zoo respond to the August 21 eclipse.
“We actually don't have a concrete hypothesis that our animals are going to feel uneasy or anxious or anything like that," animal behavior analyst Valerie Segura told WJAX. "We are genuinely interested in whether or not they are going to change their behavior."
According to National Geographic, humans have witnessed the effects of a total eclipse on animals for centuries and have noted bizarre behaviors that include birds falling out of the sky, giraffes running wild and elephants sleeping.
However, scientists say that because total eclipses happen so infrequently and in various parts of the world, solid evidence of animal behaviors are difficult to come by.
For the upcoming eclipse, NASA has released a list of zoos across the eclipse’s path of totality that will be holding events for the public, as well as a chance for humans to observe animals' behavior.
“When the darkness of totality occurs, some animals may begin their nighttime routines among other reactions,” NASA states on their website.
Humans are instructed not to look directly at the sun during an eclipse because it may cause permanent eye damage, and sky watchers have been instructed to wear special glasses that are darker than regular sunglasses to avoid ocular injury.
Knowing the risks, pet owners aren't taking any chances with their animals, keeping them indoors, or in the event that they accompany their owners outside, wear protective eyewear as well.
Dr. Kathryn Diehl, an animal optometrist at University of Georgia, told WGCL that there is “really no specific precautions” for pets.
Segura told WJAX to approach the day as you normally would with your pet.
“If I had to give one piece of blanket advice which I don't normally do, I would say approach this the same way a nasty storm,” she said. “Ways that you would normally comfort your pet."
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