Did you know humans aren't the only species that will be effected by the total solar eclipse passing over Illinois this Monday? Creatures of all shapes and sizes will exhibit strange behaviors you need to watch out for too.

Solar eclipse August 21, 2017 at 1:15pm from Wisconsin, USA85% Coverage
Getty Images

2 Major Things to Expect During a Solar Eclipse

It may seem like common sense, but there a two big things that will happen during Monday's total solar eclipse that most of us might need to be reminded of:

  1. It will get darker very quickly. The entire solar eclipse process will last about 2 and half hours, but as it nears totality it will get darker much more quickly than we're used to during a typical sunset.
  2. The air temperature will drop significantly. Experts say that it could get at least 10 degrees cooler very quickly, especially in areas that are in the path of totality like Southern Illinois is.

These two eclipse effects may be exciting to us humans, but for wildlife it causes a lot of confusion.


Solar Eclipse Impacts on Animals

As the moon covers the sun during Monday's cosmic display, animals in Northern Illinois will exhibit some strange behaviors.  From birds fluttering in confusion to nocturnal creatures stirring awake, the eclipse will cast a spell on the entire animal kingdom.

Angela Speck, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas at San Antonio, recently told ABC News;

Once it gets to about 75%, 80% eclipsed, there's enough sunlight missing that animals will start to react.

Since the majority of Northern Illinois is expected to see 91% eclipsed, here are some of the weird behaviors we might see:

  • Birds will begin to flock, quiet down, and return to their nest because they think it is nighttime. Then when it starts to get lighter they might seem disoriented.
  • Farm animals will retreat to barns because they think it is bedtime.
  • Nocturnal creatures and insects will emerge from hiding spots thinking it is nighttime. (Don't be surprised if you see some owls and bats!)

Keeping Pets Safe During a Solar Eclipse

If you have pets at home that are prone to anxiety and get upset during events like thunderstorms or fireworks, Monday's unusual conditions may be upsetting to them too. Many vets advise to keep your pets indoors and contained during the solar eclipse, just in case.

An article from one animal hospital in Florida says;

 Confinement would not just prevent the unlikely possibility of a pet staring into the sun, but may help weather sensitive pets to cope with any psychological effects from the solar eclipse that may induce stress, fear or panic.

So, I guess the moral of this story is; take a moment to observe the world around you while you are outside watching the eclipse on Monday... you might see several fascinating things.

READ MORE: When You Need to Be Ready to Watch the Eclipse in Northern Illinois

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