Strange animal behaviors you may see during the solar eclipse

The darkness caused by the eclipse will essentially throw off the natural rhythm of the animals.

An annular solar eclipse will occur on Oct. 14, causing both humans and wildlife to respond in curious ways.

Coming from the Latin word "anulus" which means "ring", the annular solar eclipse will form when the Moon covers much of the Sun, allowing a ring of sunlight known as a "ring of fire" to burn around the Moon.

Such a strange sight in the sky will correspond with a few strange sights on Earth. Specifically, some animals will begin to engage in dusk or nighttime behavior, despite the eclipse occurring in the daytime.

This is because the darkness caused by the eclipse will essentially throw off the natural rhythm of the animals, according to Mitzi Adams, acting chief of the Heliophysics and Planetary Science Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.


Adams observed the strange animal behavior both during her own eclipse experience as a skygazer in 1970 and during a 2017 eclipse study in partnership between Marshall Space Flight Center and teams at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama and the Inspire Project in Washington, D.C.

Through those eclipse experiences, Adams noted how some animals began to act in curious ways:

  • Turtles - The eclipse cued turtles to emerge from the water and place themselves on the banks of a pond. Once the eclipse passed, the reptiles slowly made their way back into the water.
  • Crickets - During the eclipse, crickets began chirping as they usually would have during nightfall. As soon as the eclipse ended and sunlight returned, the insects stopped chirping.
  • Bees - Bees began flying back to their hive during the eclipse. According to Adams, the bees were clearly upset by this change in sunlight during the day, as it took the insects hours to start leaving the hive again once the eclipse ended.

Adams noted how the eclipse caused strange behavior in another animal: humans. She said people start to scream and clap, and many of them experience goosebumps.


To Adams, the reaction to a solar eclipse is hard-wired into humans because we rely on the Sun for everything.


"Being in a total eclipse is an awe-inspiring experience and can inspire young people to study science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics," she said. "It's one of those things where we want to understand the Universe around us, and this is a really good excuse to get people together and celebrate our Sun."