Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar eclipse and pets: Scientists want your help

Everyone is so excited about the solar eclipse today.

And online there are some saying keep your dog in the house, some are saying you don't need to because they won't look at the sun anyway.

Scientists are very interested, however, in how your pets will react in general.
Download the iNaturalist app and help them better understand how animals react to an eclipse.

It's called the Life Responds project, and scientists at the California Academy of Science want your help.

The team is asking you to become a citizen scientist.

They want you to observe how pets are behaving, how other animals you observe are behaving, even how plants are behaving.

You'll make at least three observations. You can make more than three, but these are most important:

  • 30 minutes before totality or maximum coverage, depending on where you are in the path of the eclipse. To find out when that moment is for you, check out this interactive map on the NASA eclipse website. Just find where you live on the map and click on it to drop a pin. The chart below will tell you all the pertinent times.
  • During the 5 minutes of totality or maximum coverage.
  • 30 minutes after totality or maximum coverage.
Download the iNaturalist app and record your observations in it. The app is free to download and its free to sign up for an account.

The iNaturalist app is available through the Apple app store or Google Play.
Download the iNaturalist app from the App Store or Google Play for free.
What should you look for?

You know what your pets should be doing normally during the day, right? So watch what they are doing during the eclipse -- are they howling, are they laying down, are they hiding? Not saying they will do any of those things, just offering suggestions.

Most scientists say animals and plants seem to react to the eclipse the way they react to the sun setting. So if your beagle is suddenly looking for his dinner -- that could be an interesting reaction.

Will they look up at the sun during the eclipse? Most likely not. It's not common for animals to do anything so unnatural as to look at something that will hurt them. But just in case, might be best to just leave them inside during the eclipse. 

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