What did you do during Monday’s Solar Eclipse? Did you watch NASA’s live feed? Put on some special glasses and experience it first hand? Take photos, like my friend Kevin out in Missouri where the coverage was 100%? Or just ignore it and go on with your day without doing anything special?
My granddaughter and I did not have the special glasses, so as an extension of our summer science experiments, we decided to go to the Beardsley Zoo and see if any of the animals acted differently.
Here’s what we observed:
At the peak of the eclipse, the maned wolves, which are usually quite docile, got into a tiff and had a tussle for a few minutes. None of the visitors had ever seen them act this way before.
The other wolves, both gray and red appeared agitated and were moving around their enclosures a lot more than usual. it was most noticeable with the male gray wolf, as he was right up front after he’d been nearly invisible for the past 3 weeks during our prior visits.
The two female Canadian Lynx kittens, who are always playful and testing their hunting skills on one another lay fast asleep for the longest time – before and after the eclipse.
The Big Cats, Leopards, and Tigers seemed to find romance on this special day. The male leopard came down from his rocky perch to check out the gorgeous female in the next enclosure.
The male tiger took particular interest in the female next door — she is a new arrival — and the two of them got really close nuzzling one another through the fence. She rolled around and he sprayed after whispering something in her ear. (Will we see Cubs in the near future?)
The red panda slept through the whole thing.
The howler monkeys and other apes were pretty much the same, climbing, cleaning one another, and being cute.
Just about every prairie dog was out and about, scurrying around and showing off for an adoring crowd. My granddaughter and I have been there a few times and we were lucky if we saw one or two outside.
The Vampire Bats, even though they are in a very controlled environment inside a building, were particularly active, flying around, clinging to the walls and spreading their wings. It was quite a show.
The most unusual behavioral change though was that of the River Otters, which are always having a good old time swimming and sliding and showing off. Before, during and after the eclipse they both were sleeping.
The two Condors that are almost never near one another when we visit actually shared a piece of meat just after the eclipse passed and the skies began to brighten.
As 2:45 p.m. approached the birds stopped singing and I didn’t notice any wild birds flying around either. About a half an hour after it was over, they returned and it was business as usual.