Solar Eclipse and Animal Reactions

Published: Aug. 21, 2017 at 7:41 PM EDT
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Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – Like the doors of ‘Toys R Us’ opening up on black Friday, the doors at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia open with the rush of a waiting crowd. Only today is Monday, a black Monday.

“I heard about the eclipse about a year ago and I kind of knew I should make plans to go somewhere.”

Over 8800 people thought the same thing and came to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden to witness a total eclipse among the animals.

“There might be crazy things, we might see animals get really anxious, they might be doing high levels of activity,” said one Riverbanks Zoo employee, “They might get anxious and huddle together and comfort each other so we don’t know. Maybe we will see tortoises doing back flips, who knows.”

Little is known about animal behavior during an eclipse which is why a team of scientists are here.

As the hours pass, the time comes.

“The sun is partially covered up by the moon,” said one young guest.

The siamang suddenly become angry and agitated; jumping, screaming as the sun begins to disappear. Then day, becomes night.

“Turns out the craziness is when it came to complete totality and that’s really abnormal, this is something I’ve never seen in siamang. It stopped,” said a Riverbanks Zoo employee.

Two and a half unforgettable minutes, for the crowd and for those studying the animals.

“I’m astonished because this work for almost nothing,” said the zoo employee.

Astonished because almost all of the animals the scientist observed showed strange behavior.

The scientists plan to publish their notes and findings on the animal behavior during the eclipse which will be used for future research.