Total solar eclipse could affect animal behavior - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE

Total solar eclipse could affect animal behavior

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Full moons can cause strange behavior in animals, but an eclipse might have the same effect. Animal experts in Chattanooga are expecting some weird behavior from creatures not only in the wild but also in captivity.

Many animals depend on natural cycles of light and darkness to get through daily life. But on August 21 their routines will be interrupted by a solar eclipse in the middle of the day.

Lauren Tiffany, a zoo keeper at the Chattanooga Zoo, says a lot of birds here might think it's bed time and you might not hear them singing.

"They're going to stop their calls. They're going to start bedding down for the evening and they're going to retreat to the trees, right," says Tiffany.

However, owls might wake up and start hooting. Chimpanzees could get sleepy, and alligators might relax because they're very sensitive to temperatures which could cool 10 to 20 degrees.

"As the sun is blocked the warmth goes down and they sort of slow down," explains Tiffany.

Jaguars might get a little playful.

"Our jag boys like to wrestle right before they're brought in every night," adds Tiffany.

At the Tennessee Aquarium, animal care specialist Maggie Wagoner is curious to see how the lemurs will behave. They're almost always watching the sky.

"They will definitely take note and do some vocalizations. Our Red Ruffs [Red Ruffed lemurs] actually have a really loud vocalization," says Wagoner. She says it sounds a bit like screaming.

Otters, like jaguars, are often most active around dawn and dusk. So they might get confused, also.

"They could think it's time to go out and start hunting again," explains Wagoner.

Staff members at neither place have observed animals during an eclipse. Wagoner says not knowing exactly how the animals will react, or if they'll react at all, is part of the fun.

"It's really exciting for us, too, because we don't know for sure what's going to happen," adds Wagoner.

No matter where you watch the eclipse, Tiffany encourages everyone to put down their phones and keep your eyes and ears open.

"Definitely stop and look around you because nature's kind of awesome and will definitely surprise us," says Tiffany.

Tennessee Aquarium eclipse events (details coming soon) | MORE INFORMATION

Chattanooga Zoo eclipse events | MORE INFORMATION

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