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South Carolina aquarium preps its animals for solar eclipse

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 01:48

As the solar eclipse approaches in the U.S., animals in its path may be in for both an early evening and a rude awakening. Nathan Frandino reports.

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The birds at the South Carolina Aquarium might be heading for the roost early on Monday. That's because the solar eclipse is heading straight over them. (USE TWO NASA GRAPHICS HERE / LOCATED IN HOLD BIN CALLED NATHAN ECLIPSE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT) Their saltwater marsh aviary habitat falls within the 70-mile-wide path of totality. The moon will pass between the sun and Earth, plunging the aquarium into darkness. The rare event giving wildlife experts a chance to see how the eclipse affects animals. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MONTY WALLACE, SOUTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM AVICULTURIST, SAYING: "They don't know it's coming yet. So it'll be a big surprise to them." Aquarium aviculturist Monty Wallace says the midday total eclipse could cause some confusion for his birds. The aquarium will be using a GoPro to monitor the exhibit. Wallace will be focusing on the nocturnal yellow-crowned night heron and the diurnal little blue heron. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MONTY WALLACE, SOUTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM AVICULTURIST, SAYING: "Maybe the nocturnal heron could be more foraging for food (COVER W/ B-ROLL THIS CUT) And the little blue being more active during the daytime may take that time as the eclipse is approaching, happening to take refuge in the trees." The aquarium will also set up a GoPro in its Mountain Forest exhibit. That's where its two river otters live. When the moon's outer shadow arrives midday on Monday, the otters will be sleeping. Totality, meanwhile, is expected at 2:46 p.m., after the otters' naps, says Kendle Enter, the aquarium's animal behaviorist senior biologist. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KENDLE ENTER, SOUTH CAROLINA AQUARIUM ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST SENIOR BIOLOGIST, SAYING: "That's when they start waking back up and are a little more interested in finding 'where's my food?' It's almost time for their dinner. That's what I'm expecting. They're either going to sleep through it or they're going to wake up, expecting their food." Hungry or not, workers at the aquarium looking forward to witnessing the once-in-a-lifetime eclipse through the eyes of their inhabitants.

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South Carolina aquarium preps its animals for solar eclipse

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 01:48