Animal Crackers

An interesting factoid about the solar eclipse is how it will affect the behavior of animals. Clearly the woodchuck* may be regretting some of his decisions, but how will his furry friends react to this natural phenomenon? According to the internet, not well.

“Researchers of the Zoological Survey of India studied rock bees during an eclipse, finding that the number of them leaving and returning to their hive every minute increased dramatically during a partial solar eclipse. These social bees are known for their aggressive defense strategies and vicious behavior when disturbed. As the sun dipped behind the moon, more than 150 bees buzzed about, when normally only a few would move away from the hive. Said the researcher, “It would appear that during the partial solar eclipse, the rock bees became distinctly restless and more active.” 

Distinctly restless and more active is not how I want my bees to behave, and that was just during a partial eclipse. They are going to totally freak during a total one. It also appears that the colonial orb-weaving spiders of Mexico will have no idea what to do with themselves, as they start ripping apart their webs when the day goes completely dark, then reconstructing them when the light returns. Even the hippos are going to need Xanax:

“Hippos on a sandbar in the Zambezi River began entering the water as the eclipse set in — possibly mistaking it for the onset of evening, when the animals typically leave their resting places and traverse the bottom of the river. Sunlight returned before any of the herd had reached the riverbanks, and the study reported an apparent sense of confusion, even apprehension among the animals. They continued in this state, seemingly, for the rest of the day.”

So now we’ve got angry bees, confused spiders and apprehensive hippos all running around, as well as an extra million cars on the roads trying to get to the Path. And apparently ground squirrels go completely nuts as well, as the length of their “non-stop running sessions were much greater than normal during and for two hours after the eclipse.” This should make for some interesting roadkill. Between the angry bees and the manic squirrels, I may not even get out of the car.

Oh, sure, you say, it’s just a squirrel. They are small and cute and can be beaten to death with a shovel if necessary. But have scientists considered how this lunar event is going to affect werewolves? The moon will be full as the shadow passes in front of the sun, even though it’s the middle of the day. If this is messing with the hippo’s heads, what will it do to werewolves? Once again, I turned to the internet for expert advice:

“A lunar eclipse during a full moon will cause a werewolf to de-transform from their monstrous hairy wolf form during the eclipse. Yet they will maintain their mindless violent werewolf rage while in human form and will totally lose all sense of humanity, causing them to go on a serial killing spree of anything that crosses their path.”

And I was worried there wasn’t going to be any cell phone service.

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*There was some chatter on Facebook about the fact that a woodchuck and a groundhog are the same thing. While that may be factually correct, please be assured that nothing on this blog can be assumed to be true as my main research tool is werewolves.com. But it would explain the nightmare that I had where I kept thinking I had written a new post, only to wake up each day and find it was the same one over and over.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck stared directly into a solar eclipse?

woodchuck_eclipsebehind it

I think the answer is obvious. The first rule about watching the solar eclipse is don’t watch the solar eclipse. Foolish woodchucks who don’t wear their special glasses during this event will find themselves scorned and mocked by the other rodents. They can be very mean.

I hope the rest of the woodchucks have already ordered their glasses from NASA, because on August 21, 2017, North America will be able to experience its first solar eclipse in almost a century. For a total of 2 minutes and 41 seconds, the moon will move in front of the sun, blocking the light and warmth of the star we depend upon for our very survival. It’s a preview of what life will be like if Donald Trump stays in office much longer.

A total eclipse is said to be an awe-inspiring moment.  The light dims and goes flat, the temperature suddenly chills, birds and animals go silent (except for my cats, who will assume it’s time to eat since it will be dark). Woodchucks will make bad choices.

Most of the U.S. will be able to see at least a partial eclipse (or as Congress calls it, “a skinny eclipse”), but to get the whole experience of Black is the New Orange, you will need to be in the Path of Totality. The Path is not some flower-laden trail of dirt that little girls skip along; it is a wide arc of the sightline that swoops across the country, suddenly throwing tiny little midwestern towns into the spotlight simply because of where they are geographically located.

One of these towns is Hopkinsville, KY, population 31,000. That’s for today. On August 21, it is expected to be more like 150,000; or rather, 150,011, as my entire family and I will be there, too.

The Blind Woodchuck, besides being a cautionary tale, is also your guide to All Things Eclipse. Check back frequently for a first person narrative of how to prepare for this great event, and moment to moment observations about whether thousands of people standing together in a field staring up at the sun will simultaneously burn their retinas to a crisp. We can all learn from the woodchuck.