Animals can sense harsh weather and earthquake – Myth or fact!

Can birds predict weather?

For centuries it has been believed that that animals can predict weather and disasters. They have senses that cause them to locate prey or predator, these senses can also cause them to know what the weather will be like in 24 hours or if an earthquake is about to hit the area. Most birds have a special middle-ear receptor called the Vitali organ, which can sense small changes in barometric pressure. So if the activity at feeders suddenly becomes much more intense a storm may be approaching. Birds flying low or sitting on power lines also indicate that air pressure is falling.

Animals can predict earthquakes?

Shetland Sheep Collie dog during 2011 tsunami in Japan

Many centuries old thinking suggest that animals can predict the earthquake. The example is; catfish moving violently, chickens that stop laying eggs and bees leaving their hive in a panic have been reported. A number of pet owners around the world have claimed that their cats and dogs started acting strangely before the ground shook. The sign included barking or whining for no apparent reason, or showing signs of nervousness and restlessness.

One theory is that wild and domestic creatures feel the Earth vibrate before humans. Other ideas suggest they detect electrical changes in the air or gas released from the Earth.

Notable events

From past to present, many people have believed that animals can predict earthquakes and weather. Following are some notable events of such behavior;

*In 373 B.C., historians recorded that animals, including rats, snakes and weasels, deserted a Greek city just days before a quake devastated the place.

*On December 26, 2004, an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that brought massive death and destruction to the coastal countries of Indian Ocean, at least 200,000 people were dead. Amazingly, wildlife officials at Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park reported that no animal deaths occurred. Yala National Park is a wildlife reserve populated by hundreds of wild animals including elephants, leopards, and monkeys. Researchers believe that these animals were able to sense the danger long before humans.

*There have also been examples where authorities forecast an earthquake by observing the behavior of animals.For example, in 1975 Chinese officials ordered the evacuation of Haicheng, a city with one million people, just days before a 7.3-magnitude quake. Only a small portion of the population was hurt or killed. If the city had not been evacuated, it is estimated that the number of fatalities and injuries could have exceeded 150,000.This of one of the most famous example of animal behavior, used to predict earthquake.

Observers report that the animals seemed to have some warning, whether by several hours or just seconds, that allowed them, and the people who believed animal’s unusual behavior to those warnings, and thus saving themselves

Watch animals for weather!!

Birds flying high

Following is the behavior of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles during and after a storm, which should be watched to tell weather, though some of them might not be true;

  • They will react if air pressure falls.
  • If birds are flying high in the sky, it’s a fair weather. If they are flying low this means that air pressure is falling. Falling air pressure causes discomfort to the bird’s eyes.
  • Seagulls tend to stop flying and take refuge at the coast if a storm is coming.
  • Animals, especially birds, get very quiet immediately before rain.
  • Cows will typically lie down before a thunderstorm. They also tend to stay close together if storm is coming.
  • Ants build their hills with very steep sides just before a rain.
  • Cats tend to clean behind their ears before rain.
  • Turtles often search for higher ground when a large amount of rain is expected.
  • If birds are eating during storm it means the rains will continue.

Myth or fact?

Seagull rests as thunderstorms dissipates

Researchers around the world continue to pursue the idea. In September 2003 a medical doctor in Japan made headlines with a study that suggested that erratic behavior in dogs, such as excessive barking or biting, could be used to forecast quakes.

However some are not as confident as Japanese researchers, The United States Geological Survey (USGS) officially said;

“Changes in animal behavior cannot be used to predict earthquakes. Even though there have been documented cases of unusual animal behavior prior to earthquakes, a reproducible connection between a specific behavior and the occurrence of an earthquake has not been made. Because of their finely tuned senses, animals can often feel the earthquake at its earliest stages before the humans around it can. This feeds the myth that the animal knew the earthquake was coming. But animals also change their behavior for many reasons, and given that an earthquake can shake millions of people, it is likely that a few of their pets will, by chance, be acting strangely before an earthquake.”

“We are hopeful!”

Researchers and scientist all round the world do not rule out the possibility that animals can predict disasters or weather. They all agree that it is possible for animals to sense changes in the environment before humans. Researchers around the world are continuing to study animal behavior and earthquakes. They are hopeful that animal behavior will lead the humans to finally predict disasters and severe weathers. Lets see!

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