Years ago, I read a book entitled “When Snakes Awake” by Helmut Tributsch published by the MIT Press.
While the translation I read was pretty awful, the content was very interesting. It dealt with the ability of animals to predict earthquakes.
According to the cover, “Two days before an earthquake struck Helice, Greece, in 373 B.C., the snakes, weasels, and worms deserted the city. Minutes before the Naples quake of 1805, oxen, sheep, dogs, and geese cried out in unison. A herd of horses tore loose and ran off in panic just prior to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.”
Amazingly, there is lots of modern research to back up these anecdotal observations and we now know that pigeons actually have a specific gland in the foot that makes them aware of minuscule foreshocks.
In China, there is a network of observers, sort of like amateur storm watchers, who report unusual animal reactions to a central authority to act as an early earthquake warning system.
I think most people are also aware that prior to the Thai tsunami, a number of animals, including elephants, fled the coast.
Dogs and even miniatures horses are now used as service animals to predict oncoming seizures in individuals with epilepsy and other medical conditionsl.
I am a firm believer dogs and other animals have information about our environment that we humans either lack the capacity to sense, or have forgotten how to perceive.
That’s why on Sunday night, I went to bed and fell asleep without too much anxiety, in spite of the fact that emergency management and media weather sources were predicting possibly violent weather for Apalachicola.
I felt pretty secure because Chance wasn’t in the bathtub.
My dog Chance is terrified of storms and when bad weather is approaching, she takes up residence in my bathtub.
I find this an eminently sensible practice on her part since experts tell us that the bathroom is one of the safest places to be in many emergency situations, because bathrooms tend to be small and are armored by tile and a network of plumbing. They also tend to have fewer and smaller windows.
When things really get dicey, Chance abandons the bathtub and wedges herself under my bed.
While this must make her feel secure, it is a less efficacious than occupying the bathtub since while she seems to be able to get under the bed with no problem, I have to lift the corner of the bed for her to emerge when the storm is over. Lately Chance seems to be developing the physique of one of those Thai elephants.
Anyway, I have a lot of faith in Chance’s weather forecasting powers and I have been wondering if there are other animals in Franklin County, dogs, cats, roosters, elephants or whatever, that predict weather or anything else.
If you have an animal with unusual talents, please contact the Times at 653-8868 or contact Lois Swoboda at firstname.lastname@example.org.