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10 Ways Animals Supposedly Predict the Weather

        Science | Storms

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Wolves Howl When a Storm Is Approaching
Wolves howl mainly because, well, they're wolves and that's how they communicate. But scientists also think air pressure from an approaching storm might cause them to howl in pain. Pierre Cardon/iStock/Thinkstock
Wolves howl mainly because, well, they're wolves and that's how they communicate. But scientists also think air pressure from an approaching storm might cause them to howl in pain. Pierre Cardon/iStock/Thinkstock

The full moon is typically credited for inspiring howling wolves, but it turns out that another sky-related occurrence might cause a similar ruckus. Big storms bring with them a change in air pressure, so some experts believe that this weather adjustment hurts sensitive canine ears, causing them to howl in pain [source: Farmers' Almanac ]. It's hard to say for sure whether this is true, but anyone with sensitive ears who's ever driven through a mountainous region or flown with a head cold can vouch for the serious discomfort a change in air pressure can cause. Just to be safe, if you ever hear a wolf a-howling, it's a good idea to get undercover, both for protection from the rain, as well as the wolf itself – though they don't usually attack humans.

We do know that wolves howl for far more reasons than just a little ear discomfort. Scientists have pinpointed many functions for the occasional bay, such as attracting a mate, signaling alarm, communicating to the pack and just because they feel like it. You know what reason didn't make the cut, after careful study? The moon. That's right – there is no real evidence to show that the moon holds any fascination whatsoever for our vulpine friends [source: Richardson]. Now that's something to howl over!