Over the years, folklore has told us that animal behavior can anticipate future weather conditions. But what about science? Are there scientifically-proven animals that can predict the weather?
Here are 18 animals with extra-sensory abilities for detecting future conditions. Look to these creatures for signs of rain, snow, and sun!
Can Animals Predict the Weather?
The theory that animals can predict the weather comes from folklore, fables, and other ages-old literature. However, it’s not entirely a myth!
Dr. Simon Robson from James Cook University explains that animals use environmental signals to interact with nature. Their behavior alters every season, so they are very familiar with the changes going on in their surroundings.
Animals won’t give you exact weather forecasts for the next ten days. But thanks to flora and fauna, they can predict the weather through their senses and food supply. Some have a strong sense of smell to observe any sign of rain, while others follow migration patterns.
Animals do not magically sense the weather. Ditch the idea that heavy rain is coming when your feline friends are sneezing.
18 Animals That Can Predict the Weather
Not all creatures can tell the weather conditions in advance. Equipment such as weather station software can give more accurate data. But it has been proven that some creatures on this planet can sense when the weather is about to change and we’ll talk about them below! You won’t believe how these 18 animals can predict the weather with their heightened senses and abilities!
Frogs have an enhanced sense that allows them to prophesy the rain. They either croak louder and longer or appear on land to lay eggs. The water pressure decrease in shallow bodies of water, sensitizing frogs and forcing them to stay in temporary puddles.
These amphibians also lay more eggs during storms to take advantage of the water. That’s because they need adequate space and humidity for their fertilized eggs. If you hear them actively making noise, it means they are searching for someone who can mate with them.
The common toad is the frog’s fellow amphibious friend that also has weather-predicting abilities. A colony of toads comes out when there are fluctuations in humidity. Studies also show that bufo toads can predict an earthquake five days before it occurs.
The behavior of birds when flying can help us identify the current weather. Fictional stories tell us that we should expect fair weather when birds fly high. But when they are soaring close to land, the air pressure might be stressing their bodies.
The actual bird behavior to look out for is their migration. Some guides for rain include birds approaching your area, sitting on power lines, or coming from the coast.
These feathered friends can hear low-frequency noise called infrasound. They know when bad weather hits because they can listen to it from miles away. They also evacuate in flocks before they fall victim to extreme weather events.
One of the most popular animal weather proverbs is that cows lie down when rain is approaching. So prepare your raincoat and umbrellas when you see a herd of these animals reclining on the grass.
There is also an old quote, “When a cow endeavors to scratch its ear, a shower is approaching near.” Experts tried to test if the ability of cows to sense the weather is accurate, and it is!
These mammals regulate their body temperature by trapping heat in their body when lying down. They avoid standing up to protect themselves from the cold weather.
There is not enough evidence to support sheep’s weather-forecasting skills. In Iceland, residents say that frequent urination signals an approaching rain. It’s challenging to debunk this myth because most humans also feel the urge to pee based on the temperature.
They also believe that bright yellow urine in sheep means it will be a sunny day. Another wives’ tale is that sheep headbutt one another when the winds are heavy.
Theories from nineteenth-century books state that cats can detect severe weather too. They might snore, sit with their tail dancing fire, or wash behind their ears right before the rain comes.
But this observation requires more research. Otherwise, it’s just another fictional proverb.
Researchers Jerry Ault and Nick Shay found that fish can help meteorologists produce accurate predictions of hurricanes. They were supposed to track an iconic game fish using tags, but they discovered something else.
The researchers consider tagged tarpons as “living observational platforms” because they can provide information on the Arctic sea ice’s melting, production of ocean dead zones, and more.
Groundhogs are the most popular animals that can detect the weather in the US. Every second of February, tourists visit the most famous groundhog Phil to predict the weather. Phil tries to find out if there will be an early spring six more weeks of winter.
But Phil is only 39% accurate in his weather forecasts. So it’s not entirely true that groundhogs can predict the weather.
There’s also Georgia’s weather-predicting groundhog, which is General Beauregard Lee. Gen. Beauregard tries to see their shadow to discover if there will be an early arrival of spring.
Bats aren’t only famous for being flying mammals. They also give humans an idea of the barometric pressure.
According to researchers, bats set off on evenings when the sky and wind are clear so they can safely fly. They may also set off on nights with a drop in barometric pressure if there was a weak headwind on their way.
They say the conditions above can affect those below. And moles agree to this because flooding poses a significant hazard to their underground homes. If they dig a 2.5-feet deep hole, expect heavy weather. If it’s a foot deep, there will be a mild winter.
Moles can also give us clues about the weather when they’re throwing up. If you see one vomiting fresh soil, there will be a thaw in one to two days. However, if they are throwing up more dirt than usual, expect some rain.
Wolves and some domesticated furry friends howl in pain when they sense changes in pressure. This weather condition affects canines’ sensitive ears, causing them to make noises as a response.
This behavior among wild animals is more common in mountainous regions. But science-backed studies to prove that wolves and dogs can detect the weather are still lacking.
Scientists from the University of Georgia and Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources studied the migration of wild pigs in the US. They discovered that hogs choose their habitat in South Carolina and Savannah River depending on the weather.
Pigs need water to stay cool because they cannot control their body temperatures properly. A drop in pressure and a spike in temperature also make the hogs remain in one place.
Farmers also start preparing for the coldest weather of the year when they notice their pigs gathering leaves. But scientists have not yet proven whether this is true or not.
There are many weather folklores about rabbits, and none of them are 100% accurate. The most famous saying is that bunnies abound when Easter is around. That’s why Easter posters and decorations are primarily rabbits!
Another proverb goes, when rabbits seek shelter in lowlands, there is an upcoming winter. Some also believe that rabbits hide in the woods when severe weather conditions happen. In October, you’ll know that winter will be long and extreme when rabbits are fat.
- Bees and Butterflies
A study in 2016 found that bees spend a longer time outside their hives before it rains than when the weather is stable and fair. The researchers attached tags to worker bees in separate packs to compare their activities.
New research shows that bees react to fluctuating temperatures. They also work before raining because of barometric pressure and humidity levels drop.
The same is true for butterflies, but scientist Edward Lorenz observed more. He thought that the flapping of butterfly’s wings in Brazil could predict a Texas tornado. The theory caused several debates, making scientists ask whether small events can predict the weather.
Ladybugs are one of the loveliest insects because of their color. Who knew they could also help predict the weather?
These bugs swarm around when the day is warm. But when they are looking for a place to settle in, rainy or snowy weather is on the way. If you find them hiding under tree barks, it might also be time for you to hide inside your home because rain is on the way.
You might notice more house spiders and more enormous webs when the season gets colder. The evidence for this observation is weak, but most of us know that spiders appear more during certain months.
Arthropods, like spiders, look for a spot to shelter in during the winter weather. Unlike ladybugs that hide under rocks, spiders hide in your house!
Farmers believed that woolly bear caterpillars could detect when bad weather approached. The colors of their body can tell how severe the winter will be. For instance, it will be a long and cold winter if the caterpillar is mostly black than brown.
Unfortunately, this narrative is only a myth. Caterpillars’ colors do not have any correlation with the weather.
The number of cricket chirps you hear can determine the environment’s temperature. But only male crickets can produce this sound through stridulation. They run one wing on the bottom of the other wing’s wrinkles.
Calculate how many chirps they make in fourteen seconds and find the average. Then, add 40, and the number you get is the temperature in Fahrenheit.
Ants also have an alleged weather-sensing ability because they come out more when it’s about to rain. These hardworking insects search for food the whole day to survive on the higher grounds.
They come out again when it’s already raining because the foul weather washes out their shelter. Ants look for a dry spot to stay in, and sometimes it can be your home.
The behavior of animals can give you hints about the upcoming weather. Bees, toads, and ants appear to look for a place to shelter in, while cows lay and relax to maintain their body temperature.
But some of them are only observations without research-backed evidence.
Did you enjoy reading this list of amazing animals that can predict the weather? Do you need more weather-related information? Consider getting a home weather station if you want to study it yourself!