As a wildlife photographer, I’ve long been fascinated by the mysterious effects the full moon has on animal behavior. While common wisdom once held that the full moon doesn’t impact daytime creatures, research and observation reveals the full moon actually can have pronounced effects on wildlife, even diurnal species.

Full Moon at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

Full Moon at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

Around the full moon phase, Animals that rely on eyesight become more active under the blanket of light. Predators increase their nocturnal activity to capitalize on the ability to see more clearly and hunt under the moon’s glow.

On the other hand, animals that depend more on senses like smell and hearing tend to suppress their activity around the full moon. Species like rabbits, and rodents all limit their exposure during the bright moonlight when they lose their sensory advantage.

The lunar cycle also serves as an essential guide for timing reproduction and migration in many species. Birds migrating at night use the moon for navigation. Sea turtles arrive at beaches to lay eggs during specific moon phases. And even some mammals time their mating seasons to the full moon.

While scientists are still researching the exact causes, one theory is that the moon’s glow disrupts the circadian rhythms of nocturnal creatures. The moonlight sends mixed signals to their biological clocks optimized for the dark.

Whatever the exact mechanisms, as a wildlife photographer, the full moon offers a fascinating glimpse into shifts in animal activity you simply won’t see during other phases. So grab your camera and observe how local wildlife respond when the full moon works its magic on their behavior patterns. Just remember to be respectful of the animals and capture them in their naturally altered states.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer