Skip to comments.Tsunami adds to belief in animals' "sixth sense"
Posted on 12/30/2004 3:15:26 AM PST by kattracks
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Wild animals seem to have escaped the Indian Ocean tsunami, adding weight to notions they possess a "sixth sense" for disasters, experts said on Thursday.
Sri Lankan wildlife officials have said the giant waves that killed over 24,000 people along the Indian Ocean island's coast seemingly missed wild beasts, with no dead animals found.
"No elephants are dead, not even a dead hare or rabbit. I think animals can sense disaster. They have a sixth sense. They know when things are happening," H.D. Ratnayake, deputy director of Sri Lanka's Wildlife Department, said on Wednesday.
The waves washed floodwaters up to 3 km (2 miles) inland at Yala National Park in the ravaged southeast, Sri Lanka's biggest wildlife reserve and home to hundreds of wild elephants and several leopards. "There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence about dogs barking or birds migrating before volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. But it has not been proven," said Matthew van Lierop, an animal behaviour specialist at Johannesburg Zoo.
"There have been no specific studies because you can't really test it in a lab or field setting," he told Reuters.
Other authorities concurred with this assessment.
"Wildlife seem to be able to pick up certain phenomenon, especially birds ... there are many reports of birds detecting impending disasters," said Clive Walker, who has written several books on African wildlife.
Animals certainly rely on the known senses such as smell or hearing to avoid danger such as predators.
The notion of an animal "sixth sense" -- or some other mythical power -- is an enduring one which the evidence on Sri Lanka's battered coast is likely to add to.
The Romans saw owls as omens of impending disaster and many ancient cultures viewed elephants as sacred animals endowed with special powers or attributes.
The tsunami was triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Sunday. It killed tens of thousands of people in Asia and East Africa.
A more plausible explanation than this bogus magical animal sixth sense nonsense: All the beachfront in these overpopulated hellholes is hogged by humans for fishing, tourism, etc. The animals are inland in the mountains and forests.
That, and many animals are liable to flee at the slightest instigation..
Actually animals have sharper senses than humans. They can detect weather changes. For example some birds fly south before winter and make the same stops each year. Dogs sniff out people. They DO know when storms are approaching as well.
There is an old saying: Those who know the sea, do not live by the sea. Animals follow this rule, generally, with the exception of shore birds.
I imagine the animals "felt the earthquake" and fled inland to seek cover.
There were several references to the "earth trembling" from the after effects of this strong earthquake, so an animal would be much more atune to that.
Plus their sense of hearing is so much keener. Maybe they heard the wave coming...my dogs know a thunderstorm is approaching long before I do.
Snakes detecting incredible minute changes in temperature.
Bloodhounds being able to smell a few (let's not get technical) molecules of scent.
Eagles/hawks being able to "see" a field mouse from a mile or two away.
Moths/bugs detecting incredibly small amounts of various substances.
Don't you imagine the approaching tsunami might create "vibrations"? Like on the tracks when a train is still very distant. Perhaps animals can sense those.
Add dogs' ability to hear high pitched sounds which we can't detect. Vibrations can emit such high tones (think tuning fork).
Rubbish. Animals have been endowed by their creator with mechanisms to survive that you didn't get. No need to be snippy about it.
He wasn't getting snippy, just saying that it is a natural sense and not some voodoo "magical" powers.
You may have noticed that when the pressure drops ahead of a storm, swallows, purple martins, etc. fly at lower altitudes.
He said no such thing. He accused humans of crowding the animals out to a secure distance.
Horses and cattle are keenly aware of climatic and changes in nature as well, whether its a thunderstorm, tornado, or even a winter blizzard.
Cats can hear at an even higher pitch than dogs. Elephants, on the other hand, can hear at a lower range than humans. Their superior hearing, sight and, perhaps, an ability to sense changes in the atmosphere warned animals that something was terribly wrong and to flee if they could.
My late father had a leg that could tell if rain was coming -- the result of a wound from WWII.
Thanks for the added information.
Interesting, isn't it?
I have a soft spot for the eagle. Instead of getting as far away from a storm as possible or hiding they stay and soar ABOVE the storm.
Need I add that I love animals. They fascinate me.
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