NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Scientists, zoo officials, and observers figured the total solar eclipse could have an impact on some animals in the path of totality.
But no one was expecting the giraffes at the Nashville Zoo to begin running wildly around their habitat when the sun started shining again at 1:29 p.m. once the moon began to pass.
Steven Foust, a docent—or teacher—at the zoo told News 2 he assumed that since it appeared to be twilight, the giraffes would go back to their gate and there wouldn’t be much activity.
Foust said he momentarily forgot the long-necked beauties also like to play at twilight, and that’s exactly what happened.
“They started to play, they started to run around, there was a lot of activity going on, but at the same time, they weren’t alone. There was the crowd, people “oohing” and “ahhing” and cheering and clapping, and they caught up in it—we all got caught up in it—and I did not expect this to be such an emotional experience as it turned out to be,” he explained.
“It actually gave me chill bumps, and I did not see that that coming,” Foust added.
He said going into the eclipse, he was entirely focused on the giraffes and their behavior, not thinking in the least about how it would make him feel.
“And then to be overcome emotionally like I was, it was just an amazing experience. What a day!” Foust told News 2.
He believes the crowd’s excited amazement also fed into the giraffe’s behavior, combined with the look and feel of twilight due to the eclipse.