How do animals detect and deal with bad weather?
Many species have been shown to detect and respond to some of the environmental precursors of severe weather and other natural phenomena.
One way animals are believed to sense incoming storms is through a developed sensitivity to changes in air and water pressure, which typically proceeds extreme weather like hurricanes or thunderstorms. As a response to the approach of a tropical storm and a drop in air pressure, sharks have been observed to flee to the safety of deeper water. When the air pressure drops birds and bees also seem to sense a coming storm and flee to the safety of their hives and nests before the storm hits.
Elephants have been observed fleeing before an earthquake strikes. This is attributed to the elephant’s ability to hear very low frequency or infrasonic sounds. Elephants detect these infrasounds with their feet, since they communicate with one another by infrasonic grunts that travel through the ground. This abilitiy allows elephants to detect low frequency shockwaves before earthquakes strike.
Scientists do not believe that elephants are cognizant that they are necessarily fleeing from an earthquake, but are startled from the strong and unfamiliar infrasound and flee to safety.