The solar eclipse is expected to trigger night-time behavior in animals, causing domestic animals to look for a place to sleep, while nocturnal creatures such as owls and bats could become more alert. Changes in animal behavior have been observed during previous eclipses, when ants returned to their nests and dragonflies hid under leaves, writes Sarah Knapton for The Telegraph.
Various groups of animals affected
Pet owners have been warned to keep nervous animals inside for the duration of the eclipse, after the RSPCA warned that it could make them anxious or confused. Donald Broom, Emeritus Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Cambridge, said: “They’ll notice it will get dark. Although night happens every day, you don’t have a substantial change in light intensity in the morning, so it’s a bit disturbing for them.”
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Insects, including moths and butterflies, are especially susceptible to changes in light levels. Zookeepers at London Zoo are planning measures designed to protect their insects. “A solar eclipse, especially a full eclipse, could affect the flight of nocturnal moths and diurnal butterflies – who use the light for navigation,” said Dave Clarke, Head of Invertebrates. “Here at ZSL London Zoo’s Butterfly Paradise we’ll amend the lighting slightly to counter this during the partial solar eclipse on the 20 March.”
False dawn chorus after solar eclipse
Experts claim that cocks may be fooled into thinking its daybreak again, and erupt into a cacophony of crowing, joined by loudly croaking frogs and other members of a false dawn chorus.
The solar eclipse will occur as the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, an event which rarely happens because of the uneven orbits of Earth and its satellite. Those wishing to see a total solar eclipse need to move as far north as possible, with many tourists on their way to Northern Scandinavia to catch the event.
The next total eclipse in the vicinity of Britain will occur in 2081 in central Europe, before Britain itself experiences one in 2090. Before then, a partial eclipse will occur in Britain in 2026.