Animals Displayed Quiet And Unusual Behaviour During Solar Eclipse In US

Gorillas, lions, and lemurs, showed more alertness and interest than usual.

Solar eclipse mania gripped North America on April 8 as the breathtaking celestial spectacle captivated tens of millions of people. Many viewing parties, festivals and mass weddings took place on the day. Amid this, scientists have said that animals like giraffes, gorillas, lions, macaws and flamingoes displayed unusual behaviour during the eclipse, according to CBS News.

Since total eclipses are a rare event, very little is known about the effects they have on animals. The scientists examined animals on Monday in several zoos located along the path of the totality of the eclipse, including the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas. Most of the animals at the zoo were quiet, but a few, including the gorillas, lions, and lemurs, showed more alertness and interest than usual. “Most importantly, we did not observe any signs of increased anxiety or nervous behaviours. And by the time totality had passed, things went back to normal, almost immediately!” a spokesperson at the zoo said.

Many showed characteristics which are displayed at night time like moving towards barn doors. The gorillas, giraffes, elephants, kudu, coatis, bonobos, and Aldabra tortoises were some of the animals that went to their barns.

On the other hand, nocturnal animals had a unique daytime behaviour. A ringtail cat and two owl species showed increased activity during the day in the Texas zoo.

Giraffes and zebras were spotted running around during the eclipse by zookeepers at the Dallas Zoo. While the gorillas in a bachelor group headed towards the door they use at night, the chimpanzees patrolled the perimeter of their enclosure at the zoo.

During the eclipse, an ostrich at the Dallas Zoo also laid an egg. Before totality, the other birds became quieter. Penguins and flamingos cuddled close together.

At the Indianapolis Zoo, birds also displayed unusual behaviour, according to a zoo official. Birds that are often noisy at night, such as macaws and budgies, became silent and raised their roosts.

Notably, in 2017, a similar behaviour was observed in animals during the solar eclipse. According to the outlet, citing a 2020 study, 17 species including mammals, birds and reptiles at a zoo in South Carolina. It was reported that almost 75 per cent of species exhibited a change of some kind in reaction to the eclipse. While some animals displayed indications of fear, most of them displayed behaviours that are typically observed in the evening or at night.