question.create-answer
Martin Aston
December 2016.
20
Is there any truth in the idea that certain animals can accurately predict the weather?
Answer
Comment
0
Follow
0
1 answer
Share

The idea that a cow can predict the weather, and lies down when it’s going to rain, is rubbish, just an old wives’ tale. Sheep crowd together because it’s cold, not because it’s going to rain tomorrow. Rain often arrives when it starts to get warmer, not colder. Rather than prediction, it’s more a case that animals’ reactions to changing weather is when the weather has already started to change. 

"Rather than prediction, it’s more a case that animals’ reactions to changing weather is when the weather has already started to change."

On a long-term basis, the most obvious situation is the changing of the seasons. When it gets colder and the nights longer, some animals know to hibernate – it’s in their biological clock, their DNA. In the short term, animals’ senses are sensitive – far more than humans – to immediate changes in the atmosphere, such as air pressure, wind and temperature, which lead to them thinking something’s going on, so they’ll start to take action, to head for safety like the arrival of a cold front, or a warm front, with rain or thunderstorms coming. 

"Insects, and particularly airborne insects such as butterflies, beetles and moths, are the most acutely sensitive to weather because they’re governed by the changes in wind, rain and sun."

Insects, and particularly airborne insects such as butterflies, beetles and moths, are the most acutely sensitive to weather because they’re governed by the changes in wind, rain and sun. They’ll go in or come out depending on the conditions. But animals can get caught out, and be killed by the weather. Yes, animals can hear noises that humans don’t, in terms of earthquakes. But again, it’s a reaction to what’s happening rather than a premonition.