How will the solar eclipse affect our pets? According to Angela Speck, Director of Astronomy and a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Missouri, “On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eye. And on this day, they’re not going to do it either.”.
But, like us, you probably feel it is better to be safe than sorry. If your pet will tolerate solar glasses, and is going to have to be outside (either with you or they prefer laying in a sunny spot during the day), it is a good idea to strap a pair on them. The best bet for your pet will be for them to be safe inside with the shades/blinds/curtains drawn. There may be additional traffic or loud sounds (think fireworks during the darkness of day) as people view the eclipse, so use the same safety precautions you would use during Halloween or the 4th of July. The National Park Service recommends not traveling with your pets during the eclipse.
Farm animals and other exotic pets may experience a variety of reactions. Cows and horses have been noted to head back to the barn from their pastures. Turkeys have gone back up in their trees to roost. Creatures that normally make noise at night, may be heard chirping and singing. Spiders have been known to take down their webs!
I was surprised that there is little known research into how animals will respond...its not like solar eclipses never occur! According to NASA, there are 2-4 annually. The California Academy of Sciences has created a “Life Responds” project to gather information on how our pets and wildlife react to the total solar eclipse. Join citizens from all over the country by downloading the iNaturalist app from Apple or Android to document how the animal of your choice responds 30 minutes prior to totality, during totality and 30 minutes after totality.
Remember, looking at the sun normally or during a partial eclipse, which we will be experiencing here in Lexington, can cause blindness as the sun’s rays burn the retina. Please use common sense and your eclipse glasses!!
Information was gathered from NASA, ajc.com, grrlscientist and PeoplePets for this note.
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Cathy-Licensed Vet tech with 28 year experience.