By now you know we are in for quite a treat on Monday, August 21 as a total solar eclipse will cast shades of darkness across much of the U.S.\u00a0 This sudden onset of darkness during the day could cause some confusion across the animal kingdom, especially since most animals rely on cues from the sun or the moon to keep their biological clock in check.\u00a0 With this once in a lifetime event, there comes a lot of questions and uncertainty, many of which revolve around how wildlife will act given this surprise event.Will Any Animals Be Affected by the Total Eclipse?Most large mammals won\u2019t show a noticeable change in habits from the sudden, unexpected dose of darkness, but some birds, insects, reptiles, and amphibians sure will.\u00a0 As you can imagine, many birds will retreat to their roost sites, become silent during eclipse totality, then begin their morning melodies as the sun reveals itself again.Insects like grass hoppers and cicadas may go dormant, while others like mosquitos and crickets might become briefly active. Same can be said about different types of frogs, and reptiles.\u00a0 Don\u2019t forget, the disappearance of the sun also brings a drop in temperature (Brrrr…better grab a flannel), which can impact cold blooded animals. However, the duration of the eclipse is likely too short to notice any behavioral changes.Bottom line is, total solar eclipses don\u2019t or haven\u2019t happened enough to have sound scientific data at this day in age.\u00a0 Most accounts of changes in animal behavior during eclipses are simply observations. One cool way you can help the science community is to document any eclipse-related animal behavior through the Life Responds project on the iNaturalist app. You can download the iNaturalist\u00a0app on the\u00a0App Store\u00a0or\u00a0Google Play.Photoperiod Rules Deer Activity No, the solar eclipse won\u2019t spark an early onset of rutting behavior, or cause a buck to shed its antlers early, but if you want to understand how important the sun is to a deer\u2019s daily and seasonal habits, just check out the annual Rut Predictions. It\u2019s no stretch to say the sun controls most major physiological changes deer go through on a seasonal basis \u2013 at least for deer north of the 35th latitude.\u00a0 In short, photoperiod (the amount of daylight) triggers hormonal cues in deer, which in turn regulates testosterone levels in bucks and estrogen levels in does.This curve represents how testosterone levels (controlled by photoperiod) trigger changes in deer behavior. \u00a0The peak of the curve is the rut.The rut, velvet shed, and antler shedding are just a few major changes triggered by changes in photoperiod.\u00a0 This is precisely why most would argue (and science shows) the rut occurs the same time every year, along with antler and velvet shedding \u2013 again, this pertains to deer in the northern U.S.Remember August 21st when Checking Trail CamerasAs a deer hunter, one might hypothesize the total eclipse event on August 21, 2017 might spark an increase in average daytime movement.\u00a0 The reason being that deer are crepuscular animals, meaning they are primarily active during dawn and dusk.\u00a0 It\u2019s likely some universities will compare whitetail tracking collar data after the eclipse to see if there was any correlation and we\u2019ll be sure to share the results if they do. \u00a0However, chances are the duration and suddenness of the eclipse will prevent any noticeable behavioral changes.As someone with a handful of trail cameras, I\u2019ll be interested in seeing if there\u2019s any noticeable shift or increase in activity triggered by the total eclipse.\u00a0 Could you imagine if the total eclipse happened during bow or gun season?! If deer activity proves to increase during totality, that may be a day to schedule hunting\u00a0vacation around. Plus, then you could watch the total solar eclipse from your treestand! My luck, a giant booner buck would walk by right at\u00a0the moment of total darkness.Wishing everyone a safe and Legendary viewing experience!