Apr 8, 2024 - News

Help Philadelphia Zoo see how animals react to the eclipse

A dog wearing protective glasses

Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty

While humans are getting all worked up about today's solar eclipse, animals in the Philadelphia Zoo are likely to shrug it off.

State of play: The partial eclipse is not expected to block out enough sunlight to affect the hundreds of animals living at the zoo, Michael Stern, its curator of primates and small mammals, tells Axios.

  • The zoo is open today and zookeepers aren't taking any special precautions with the animals.

Meanwhile, the National Library of Medicine reports that a full blackout from total eclipses has been known to make some animals anxious or cause them to begin their nighttime behaviors.

  • There are also anecdotal reports of other strange animal behavior during total eclipses, such as birds going quiet or spiders taking down their webs.

The intrigue: You can help scientists determine whether today's partial eclipse has any noticeable effect on Philly's zoo animals.

👩🏾‍🔬 How it works: The Philly Zoo is participating in a crowdsourcing effort by SciStarter to discover how its animals react when the sky suddenly darkens.

  • Zoo staff will instruct visitors on how to sign up on SciStarter's website and record their observations.
  • Visitors can record what they see the animals do during the eclipse, like sleeping, eating, playing or looking at the sky.

What they're saying: "For a partial eclipse, you don't see caves emptying of bats or birds going to sleep … but you may very well see other smaller changes that we don't know about yet," Stern said.


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