In the run up to the Total Solar Eclipse Monday, zoo officials and scientists had already figured the event could have an impact on some of the Animals who were living in the path of totality. However, while some animals mildly changed their behavior, scientists were surprised at the effect on giraffes at Nashville Zoo during the event.

Giraffes run wild and play during total solar eclipse

It happened at Nashville Zoo, where crowds, and scientists, were gathered to enjoy the total solar eclipse and the giraffes suddenly started running wildly in their habitat.

Steven Foust, a docent at the Nashville Zoo, had said he assumed that when the eclipse started, it would seem like twilight to the giraffes and he believed they would head back to their gate. That isn’t what happened, however, as he forgot for a moment that giraffes enjoy playing at twilight, which is exactly what they were doing.

As reported by WKRN, Foust said all the giraffes began to play, running around in their enclosure, while the crowd of people in the zoo got all caught up with the action, “ooh-ing and ah-ing” at the scene before them. He said they started clapping and cheering at the giraffes and that he hadn’t expected it to be such an emotional experience.

Saying it gave him “chill bumps,” Foust said he had been so focused on the effect of the eclipse on the giraffes, he had no idea how their reaction would make him feel.

Foust did admit the excitement and amazement of the crowd also had an effect on the giraffes' behavior, along with the feeling of twilight that came over during the eclipse.

Eclipse effect on rhinos and flamingos

As noted by the New York Daily Post, it wasn’t just the giraffes that were affected, as some of the rhinos living close by instantly bolted to their pens, believing it was their bedtime, while the elegant flamingos ran from their normal station in the pond and huddled together in the dark.

However, the flamingos' keeper wasn't really sure if it was the eclipse that had the effect on the birds or the crowds of excited people around them.

No major reactions at Memphis Zoo

Scientists were also out and about with around 1,000 visitors at the Memphis Zoo during the eclipse, to see what the effect would be on the animals.

As reported by Local Memphis, while their human counterparts were excited to experience the event, the animals in the zoo didn’t really react that much.

Amanda Schweighart, the elephant manager at Memphis Zoo, had said they were really interested to see what would happen during the total solar eclipse, but all the elephants did was to carry on like normal, munching their food. The giraffes, flamingos, and lions at that zoo also carried on as normal, as if it was just a normal cloudy day, although later they did start heading for their barns. Many of the birds in the zoo reportedly started vocalizing during the event.

There was also an effect on the hippos in the zoo, as Binti and Winnie, mother and daughter hippos, did start to act the way they do when getting ready for the night.

As they are nocturnal animals, the pair left the water and started playing in the sand area until the eclipse event was over then headed back into the water again, snoozing off as normal.

The Saint Louis Zoo made a time-lapse video of the total solar eclipse event, while waiting to see the effect on the animals there, but there were no reports of any major changes in their behavior.