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Wildlife News & Stories | PetsWeekly

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Tonight is the night we get to see a rare lunar even - we're going to be seeing a "Super Moon" combined with a lunar eclipse. These types of events only come around every thirty years or so, which means we're going to be out watching it with our pets.

Under normal circumstances, full moons are the bane of your existence. It seems like everything that can go wrong, does. Others thrive on the energy of a full moon. That got us thinking about how these types of lunar events affect wildlife and our pets? Turns out, it depends. Scientists have been studying the effects of a full moon on animals for years and there have been some very interesting results.

Here are a few of their findings about how the moon affects wildlife (for more on how the moon affects our pets, Effects of Full Moons on Our Pets).

African lions are more aggressive

A 2011 study in the PLOS ONE journal found that African lions are more likely to attack and kill humans in the days immediately after a full moon. This may be due to prey being less active on well-lit nights (probably because they know they are more easily found). So to make up for the slow hunting, lions go on a killing rampage.

Another theory is that people are more likely to be outdoors during full moons, which may explain why they are encountered more frequently.

Survival Tip:
Don’t go hiking in Africa after a full moon.

Rattlesnakes stay in their den

Kevin Fitzgerald, (DVM, DAVPG, PhD and veterinarian at VCA Alameda East Animal Hospital in Denver, CO), studies rattlesnake behavior at a plains conservation center and nature preserve when he's not out doctoring animals. In order to study their behavior, these particular rattlesnakes have been fitted with radio transmitters. Interestingly, they tend to stay in their den on full moon nights.

“Rattlesnakes don’t come out of their burrows at all on nights with a full moon,” said Fitzgerald. “So, we have seen a behavior change during a full moon, but it’s a protective reaction to owls hunting. On dark nights, the snakes are active and hunting all night long.”

Survival Tip:
Enjoy your full moon hikes (but even though rattlers aren't as active, you should still exercise caution during full moons).

Scorpions Glow All The Time

If you live in the Southwest, you know that Scorpion are fairly easy to find with a black light. But on nights with full moons, the UV rays of moonlight react with a protein that make them glow all the time. For this reason, they tend to hide during full moons. Otherwise they would be just glowing drive-thru food for a lot of predators.

Instead, they tend to be more active during the “new moon” when they aren't as noticeable. So you’ll see a decrease in activity levels during full moons and an increase in activity during new moons.

By the way, if you're looking for a fun read, be sure to check out Shepherd's Moon. This is my novel and I hope you'll support the pack by checking it out! It makes for a great Halloween read if you're an animal lover (and action adventure - fantasy enthusiast!). Here's the short description:

It's taken twelve years to earn the official title of Shepherd but she's now mostly trained, fairly effective, and the first female in over two centuries to hold the position as protector of animals. All animals... The Territorial Council isn't thrilled with her new title of Shepherd, but they don't have any more control over the appointment than they have over her. All they can really do is wait for her to screw something up - which Alex is determined not to do. Everything changes when a chance encounter with a genetically modified Shifter leaves Alex shaken and initiates a quest to locate its maker.Despite years of training, Alex finds herself woefully unprepared to tackle the new threat. To make matters worse, she must work with a mysterious man who's been trying to kill her since the day they met...

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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


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