Does the full moon affect behavior? It does in some animals

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Credit: Susan McConnell

Past studies suggest car crashes and crime increases are common during a full moon, although it’s not understood why… Animals aren’t immune to the influence of a full moon, either. Here are five examples of how their behaviour is shaped by the lunar cycle.


10-year study involving nearly 12,000 cases of dogs and cats treated at the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ medical centre found the risk of medical emergencies is 28 per cent greater for dogs and 23 per cent greater for cats in the days surrounding a full moon.

The types of emergencies ranged from cardiac arrest to epileptic seizures and trauma. While the data did not provide conclusive results, experts believe one possible explanation for the increase in feline accidents is the full moon may increase luminosity, leading to increased nocturnal hunting.

Related article:  Science deniers stay home: Synthetic biology crucial to human missions to Mars


Lions often struggle to catch animal prey during moon-lit nights, likely because other animals can see them coming. To compensate, they may turn to human prey as soon as low light resumes.

A 2011 study found people are more likely to be attacked and killed by African lions in the days right after the full moon, as light begins to wane.

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