April 8 solar eclipse: 6 zoos on the path of totality – and why animals react strangely to ‘nighttime during the day’

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A tapir wears a pair of eclipse glasses on its head at the Zoo de Lille in France during a total solar eclipse on Aug. 11, 1999
When about half of the sun’s bright face is covered by the moon’s shadow, the light levels begin to drop noticeably. During the totality phase of a total solar eclipse , when all of the sunlight is blocked, the light levels crash. Suddenly, it’s like nighttime during the day — and this eerie phenomenon has just as big of an effect on wildlife as it does on humans.
Some animals act strangely, while others simply go into nighttime mode. Diurnal animals, which are active during the day and sleep at night, prepare for bedtime, while nocturnal animals become active during totality.
It’s hard to predict how animals will react during the April 8 total solar eclipse , but there are plenty of ways to share the experience with them.
Related: The 2024 total solar eclipse is 1 week away. Here’s what you need to know
Several zoos and wildlife sanctuaries have organized events where visitors can observe how animals react to sudden changes in light and temperature. It’s a unique opportunity, and those who attend should remain quiet. Animals are easily disturbed by loud noises, and you won’t be able to tell the difference between their reactions to the sounds and their reactions to the eclipse. You can also get involved with the NASA-supported Eclipse Soundscapes Projects , which seeks citizen scientists to record animals’ behavior during the eclipse.
The following zoos are within the 115-mile-wide (185 kilometers) path of totality — the only place where it will get dark during the daytime on April 8 — and have organized events planned for the total solar eclipse.
1. Cameron Park Zoo; Waco, Texas
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Totality will come to the Eclipse at Cameron Park Zoo event for 4 minutes, 14 seconds at 1:38 p.m. CDT, with keeper chats and educational presentations throughout the day and eclipse-viewing glasses available for purchase.
2. Little Rock Zoo; Little Rock, Arkansas
Eclipse Day at the Zoo , which must be booked in advance, includes zoo admission and eclipse glasses. Expect talks from eclipse experts. Totality here will last 2 minutes, 40 seconds starting at 1:51 p.m. CDT.
3. Indianapolis Zoo; Indianapolis
With 3 minutes, 45 seconds of totality at 3:06 p.m. CDT, this zoo in White River Gardens will hold a special eclipse event on April 8, which will include making observations for the Eclipse Soundscapes Project.
4. Akron Zoo; Akron, Ohio
You’ll get free solar eclipse glasses if you’re one of the first 1,000 people to arrive at Akron Zoo’s Total Eclipse of the Zoo event. You can also take part in the Eclipse Soundscapes Project. Totality here will last 2 minutes, 50 seconds starting at 3:14 p.m. EDT.
5. Toledo Zoo; Toledo, Ohio
During the Total Eclipse at the Zoo event, staff will observe how the animals’ behavior changes during the eclipse. Here, totality will last 2 minutes, 50 seconds from 3:14 p.m. EDT.
6. Zoo New York; Watertown, New York

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