Animals at San Antonio Zoo display strange behavior during Monday's eclipse

Whooping cranes began to dance and flamingos huddled together as the sun disappeared from the afternoon sky.

click to enlarge The San Antonio Zoo's meerkats were among the animals that displayed unusual behavior as the sun disappeared from the sky. - Courtesy Photo / San Antonio Zoo
Courtesy Photo / San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo's meerkats were among the animals that displayed unusual behavior as the sun disappeared from the sky.
Meerkats, whooping cranes and flamingos at the San Antonio Zoo all exhibited strange behavior during Monday's total solar eclipse, as seen in a video the attraction shared on X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter.

As the moon blocked out the sun's rays shortly after 1:30 p.m. in San Antonio, the zoo's meerkat population began running around their habitat as one large group and headed toward their indoor enclosures, presumably to get ready for bed.

Meanwhile, the whooping cranes began to dance — a behavior often performed while courting a mate —and the flamingos huddled together, something the pink birds do as a defense mechanism.
The behavior of the animals shown in the zoo's video, which has so far garnered some 30,000 views, "supported our working hypothesis that diurnal animals, meaning those awake during the day, would display their typical evening activity patterns during totality," the zoo said in a statement.

Perhaps the most in-depth study conducted on animal behavior during solar eclipses was conducted by entomologist William M. Wheeler in 1932, who collected over 500 observations of unusual animal behaviors during an eclipse.

The San Antonio Zoo wasn't alone in its observations, either.  Giraffes, gorillas, lions, macaws and flamingos at the Fort Worth Zoo, which was in the path of totality Monday, also engaged in strange behavior during the eclipse, the Star-Telegram reports.

"The number one most unusual animal behavior during an eclipse is from us, humans," NC State University Biology professor Adam Hartstone-Rose told the Star-Telegram.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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