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You spring forward, but animals sort of mosey along

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 6, 2009 - Are you ready for Daylight Saving Time? Is it sneaking up on you?

Time springs forward this Sunday, March 8. People tend to refer to this with some dread about  losing an hour. But what about animals? Do they care?

Oh, and does it make a difference on a sundial?

We went to the Zoo and found Frank Fisher, a penguin keeper, spraying down the outdoor penguin exhibit. He is wearing waterproof overalls so yellow that they are nearly blinding. But the penguins don't seem to mind as they slowly waddle around Fisher avoiding his sprayer.

They also don't seem to mind the time change. "They pick up on it," Fisher said, but "it does not affect their appetite."

Of course, they'll be getting fed an hour earlier, which isn't as disruptive as the fall, when they have to wait. And for these birds, changes in light patterns have little to do with nature.

Inside the Penguin and Puffin Coast, the lights are programmed to simulate the bird's natural schedule. Part of the exhibit is set up for Northern Hemisphere birds and the other for the Southern birds.

Nothing is programmed for sundials; everything is natural and depends on positioning.

Early on the afternoon of March 5, an old sundial near the south entrance to the Zoo showed the same time as the clock.

So what happens Sunday?

The sundial isn't moved to adjust to "artificial" time. It will continue to display sun time and people who check it out will have to adjust their thinking to spring forward.

Brett Lohmeyer is a student at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and an intern with the Beacon.

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