Stormy Weather


How do some animals appear to be able to predict an oncoming storm?

There is a considerable amount of folklore and old wives tales about how to predict the weather based on animal behavior. On the other hand, there do, in fact, seem to be ways one can tell if a storm is approaching, just by observing animals. Biologists and other scientists, as well as other people who work with animals daily, have noted some truth to the following:

  • Geese tend not to fly when a storm is nearing. One explanation for this is that air pressure drops when foul weather approaches, and it might be harder for some larger birds, such as Canada geese, to get off the ground in such conditions. More likely, though, is that the birds instinctively understand that lower air pressure is a good indication of an upcoming storm.

  • Seagulls and other ocean birds also tend to remain grounded before bad weather ensues.

  • Many farmers believe that cows stay away from hilltops and remain close together in herds. Similar behavior has also been observed among deer and elk.

  • Because frogs like it moist and humid, which tends to be the case during and just before stormy weather, they remain out of the water for longer periods of time. You can tell because they are croaking and ribbiting a lot more before it rains.

  • Mosquitoes and biting black flies tend to bite and suck blood with much more ferocity and urgency before bad weather, perhaps saving up so they don’t go hungry while they seek shelter from the storm.


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