08 / April / 2024 : 16-51

How solar eclipse affects animals?

Humans experience awe in the face of solar eclipses – but how do the other members of the animal kingdom feel when the day briefly turns to night? On very special occasions, when the conditions perfectly align, the Moon conceals the Sun and blackness sweeps across the sky. Although total solar eclipses only last for a few fleeting moments, they can have profound effects on humans, inspiring feelings of awe and wonder. But it's harder to predict how animals will respond when they are plunged into darkness in the daytime. Animals rely on a 24-hour biological clock, known as their circadian rhythms, to control daily behaviours such as sleeping, foraging and hunting. The way eclipses disrupt these ingrained routines is relatively unexplored, as cosmic events are such rare phenomena – occurring in any given place roughly once every 400 years – and also, because not all animals react the same. "[Light] is such a huge cue that affects everything from plants to animals. As biologists we can't turn off the Sun but every now and then, nature turns it off for us," says Cecilia Nilsson, a behavioural ecologist at Lund University in Sweden.
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