Can Animals Predict the Weather?

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Do your pets exhibit strange or extreme behavior before severe weather hits?  Maybe your dog starts barking wildly or your cat crawls into a safe nook.  Do they know something we don’t know?  And, if so, how?

It’s not that they know when a hurricane or an earthquake is coming.  It’s that they can detect fine but unusual changes on the ground, in the water and in the atmosphere.  These changes then trigger split-second decisions that can save their lives.

Animals are so attuned to the natural world that they know when it’s time to stay or time to go.

  • The tsunami that devastated Thailand was deadly but it was noted in several news reports that elephants, dogs and even flamingos went running for cover seconds and even minutes before the wave hit.
  • Elephants react to vibrations they can feel on the ground and have been known to anticipate earthquakes.
  • Researchers tracked sharks during Hurricane Charlie that hit the United States in 2004.  The sharks headed for deeper water as soon as they sensed minute changes in the water pressure.


As of yet, there is no evidence that animals can use their extraordinary abilities to predict catastrophic weather conditions far in advance.  But let’s prick up our own ears, eh?  And tune into our animal friends as acutely as they are tuned into the world.  It could maybe, just maybe, save your life.


How Stuff Works:
National Geographic:
National Hurricane Center:
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