(Image source: Science News)

 

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

 

 

A new study says -- if you want to avoid being eaten by a lion, pay attention to the moon.

 

Researchers checked out more than 1,000 recorded lion attacks in Tanzania since 1988 and compared the date with the lunar cycle. The most dangerous time -- between sunset and 10 p.m. during the 10 days following the full moon. (Video source: ARKive)

 

But don’t chalk this up to full moon legends. The researchers say it’s not lunacy making the lions violent -- it’s the moonlight making lions hungry. The University of Minnesota press release explains.

 

“...at full moon it rises at sunset and is up the entire night. That makes it hard for lions to catch any kind of prey … The tables turn right after full moon, however. On the following night, the moon rises about 50 minutes after sunset. Each night it rises later ... The prey-deprived lions take advantage of this window of opportunity, and nighttime attacks … skyrocket.”

 

The researchers also compared attacks by season. They found their “be scared of the dark” advice held up during the rainy season. LiveScience has the details.

 

“The time of year also mattered. During a moonlit night in the wet season, when the night sky is more likely to be cloudy, lion attacks occurred three times as often than during similarly lit nights in the dry season, when clouds are rare and the nights brighter.”

 

The researchers say the findings will help them educate poor farmers in Tanzania on how to avoid being attacked. But they also suggest lions and other big carnivores might have had an even more profound effect on humanity. CBS quotes the study’s lead author:

 

“...perhaps they've also touched on an explanation for our centuries-old fear of darkness, if not the accompanying mythology surrounding the full moon. … ‘There’s bound to have been an effect of moonlight on our psychology because of these risks … The full moon definitely is a loud and clear harbinger.’”

Lion Attacks Increase After the Full Moon

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Jul 22, 2011

Lion Attacks Increase After the Full Moon

(Image source: Science News)

 

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

 

 

A new study says -- if you want to avoid being eaten by a lion, pay attention to the moon.

 

Researchers checked out more than 1,000 recorded lion attacks in Tanzania since 1988 and compared the date with the lunar cycle. The most dangerous time -- between sunset and 10 p.m. during the 10 days following the full moon. (Video source: ARKive)

 

But don’t chalk this up to full moon legends. The researchers say it’s not lunacy making the lions violent -- it’s the moonlight making lions hungry. The University of Minnesota press release explains.

 

“...at full moon it rises at sunset and is up the entire night. That makes it hard for lions to catch any kind of prey … The tables turn right after full moon, however. On the following night, the moon rises about 50 minutes after sunset. Each night it rises later ... The prey-deprived lions take advantage of this window of opportunity, and nighttime attacks … skyrocket.”

 

The researchers also compared attacks by season. They found their “be scared of the dark” advice held up during the rainy season. LiveScience has the details.

 

“The time of year also mattered. During a moonlit night in the wet season, when the night sky is more likely to be cloudy, lion attacks occurred three times as often than during similarly lit nights in the dry season, when clouds are rare and the nights brighter.”

 

The researchers say the findings will help them educate poor farmers in Tanzania on how to avoid being attacked. But they also suggest lions and other big carnivores might have had an even more profound effect on humanity. CBS quotes the study’s lead author:

 

“...perhaps they've also touched on an explanation for our centuries-old fear of darkness, if not the accompanying mythology surrounding the full moon. … ‘There’s bound to have been an effect of moonlight on our psychology because of these risks … The full moon definitely is a loud and clear harbinger.’”

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