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Can animals predict the weather?

        Science | Storms

Animals and Weather: Author's Note
Jessika Toothman, Staff Writer
Jessika Toothman, Staff Writer
HowStuffWorks 2009

Writing about animals always fascinates me. There are, of course, the necessary caveats: We could be simply anthropomorphizing them or misinterpreting their behaviors and motivations. So far, it's impossible to completely rule that out -- but apart from that, animal stories are so good.

For this article, I got to read about animal responses to weather such as storms and hurricanes, along with similar natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. Whether it was sharks fleeing to deeper, calmer waters before a hurricane hit or elephants seeking high ground to avoid tsunami waves pounding the shoreline, I have to say that in my heart, I retroactively root for each and every one of these animals when I read their stories. And while I give the naysayers their spot in the articles in order to present all sides, personally, I think the animals involved never get the full credit they're due as amazingly perceptive and intelligent entities.

Sources

  • BBC. "Nature's Forecasters." BBC Weather. (April 23, 2008) http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/science_nature/animal_lore.shtml
  • Boyle, Alan. "How animals gauge the weather." MSNBC Cosmic Log. 2/1/2008. (April 23, 2008) http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/01/627079.aspx
  • Burdick, Alan. "Four ears to the ground: for an elephant, the foot may be a powerful listening device." Natural History. 4/2002. (April 23, 2008) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1134/is_3_111/ai_84545901
  • Elert, Glenn. "Frequency Range of Human Hearing." The Physics Factbook. (April 23, 2008). http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/ChrisDAmbrose.shtml
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. "Ultrasonics." (April 23, 2008) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/613488/ultrasonics/64041/Infrasonics#toc=toc64041
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. "Tiger Moth." (April 23, 2008) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/595481/tiger-moth#ref=ref291325
  • Journey North. "Birds and the Built-in Barometer." Annenberg Media. (April 23, 2008) http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/eagle/WeatherBarometer.html
  • Mott, Maryann. "Can animals sense earthquakes?" National Geographic. 11/11/2003. (April 23, 2008) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/11/1111_031111_earthquakeanimals.html
  • Nature. "Can Animals Predict Disaster?" PBS. April 23, 2008 http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/animalspredict/index.html
  • Rozell, Ned. "A Balmy or Biting Winter Ahead? Ask the Bears." Alaska Science Forum. 9/18/1996. (April 23, 2008) http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF13/1303.html
  • U.S. Geological Survey. "Earthquake Facts and Earthquake Fantasies." U.S. Department of the Interior. 1/25/2008. (April 23, 2008) http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/topics/megaqk_facts_fantasy.php
  • Vatalaro, Michael. "Sharks' Sixth Sense." Boat/U.S. Magazine. 5/2005. (April 23, 2008) ­ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQK/is_3_10/ai_n13778822