HANGZHOU, July 22 (Xinhua) -- When thousands of people thronged
outdoors for the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, animals at the
zoo in east China's Hangzhou City also reacted, quickly and confusedly.
Two Indian elephants, each at five tonnes, seemed to know nothing that
solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the earth and the sun blocking
the sun rays. When the sun became invisible at about 9:35 a.m., the elephants
dropped the grass on their trunks and returned to their dorms without
Three giraffe gathered at a corner when darkness fell. They stood still and
looked around. Two minutes later, two giraffes returned to their homes while
another stayed outside, still wondering about the phenomenon.
Monkeys became the noisiest group at the zoo. The monkeys who usually
frolic on mountain retreated to their caves. Two lemurs could not stop crying in
the caves as they did at night.
The shadow of the moon disoriented birds whose body clock and direction
depend on the sun. Red-crowned cranes and flamingoes that had been wandering or
drinking water suddenly fell asleep during the brief blackout of eclipse. But
when the sun rays came out again several minutes later, the birds emerged from
their cages and started the life of another "day."
The solar eclipse was a first for most of the animals at the zoo. Birds and
elephants are more sensitive to sun rays and showed more of a reaction than
tigers, lions, leopard and pandas, said Jiang Zhi, a zookeeper.
But as the eclipse did not last long, all the animals at the zoo quickly
resumed their normal lives, he said.