Solar eclipse: exotic animals may act a little strange

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Here in Northwest Florida, about 85 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon August 21 during the peak of the solar eclipse.

As the early afternoon sky gets darker (mainly to our north in the path of totality), Dr. Gerrie Barr expects some behavior changes in animals.

"Animals that have night and day cycles like predators that hunt at night would definitely be affected by it," Dr. Barr said.

He doesn't think our furry friends at home will notice much, especially since the entire event only lasts a couple hours.

"I wouldn't expect a dramatic change, but it would not surprise me at all to see maybe a nervous behavior in a few animals," Dr. Barr said. "They don't understand what's happening based on the day before."

Donna Peace has four cats but said she isn't worried about them.

"They don't get too scared. You know, as long as they're in the house they're okay," she said. "If a thunderstorm comes up they get a little bit scared, but they're pretty chill."

But Dr. Barr believes the eclipse could confuse some exotic animals.

"Studies in the past have shown that certain insects quit singing like cicadas and the bees develop nervous behavior. Squirrels become erratic and more stereotypic[al] in their behaviors," Dr. Barr explained.

While we need to wear special glasses during the eclipse if we're going to look at the sun, Dr. Barr said he doubts animals will stare directly into the sun.