Are Animals Affected by the Moon and the Seasons?
Just like humans, animals are greatly influenced by nature, seasons, and atmospheric conditions. Animals, however, possess natural instincts beyond human senses. There are myths and urban legends regarding animals being able to predict thunderstorms and earthquakes in different ways – perhaps surprisingly, there is truth to these legends.
Cycles of breeding are influenced greatly by the seasons and the atmospheric conditions associated with each one. Spring is known as a season of rebirth – many animals are born in spring when the weather is warm and the food is more plentiful. This would require some sense of impending winter in animals. Deer, for example, have a mating season which allows for their babies to be born in weather conditions prime for survival. Wolves, coyotes, birds and other species that live in colder areas have innately tailored their mating seasons and patterns to the changing of the seasons.
Many animals hibernate to survive the cold, harsh conditions of winter. During the months of scarce food leading to the onset of cold weather, animals like bears and squirrels prepare themselves for hibernation. Their bodies can survive on the fat and calories stored prior to hibernation. As the weather changes, their bodies actually regular themselves to the temperature, decreasing their heart rates to prepare for the slow metabolism necessary for hibernation. These animals have mysterious internal “alarm clocks” that alert them to the onset of warm weather in spring so that they can wake up and begin their mating season.
The full moon is known to affect animals and people in a variety of strange ways due to circadian rhythms and circalunar cycles. During a full moon, for example, coral is known to reproduce at three times the normal rate. Many nocturnal animals become significantly less active, and predatory ones such as lions typically do not hunt until the next day, despite normally hunting at night. Studies of some insects have shown that hormonal rates increase during the full moon phase, which also occurs in human beings.
Many things are affected by the moon and the tides, including mammals. The influence of nature on earth and its species is undeniable, although it remains somewhat mysterious.