Want To Know The Weather? Watch The Animals

Folklore says these animals are the ones to observe closely!

While groundhogs are the most famous for predicting the weather, they aren’t the only creatures that can tip you off about what to expect outside. Our ancestors watched the behavior of all sorts of animals to determine what was to come. The result? Colorful weather folklore has been passed down from generation to generation. Are they always accurate? Depends on who you ask! At the very least, folklore is enjoyable and reminds us of a simpler time, especially in this high-tech world we live in.

Below is a list of animals known for their weather forecasting abilities.

1. Wolves

Wolves always howl more before a storm.

2. Cows

gas tax

When a cow endeavors to scratch its ear, it means a shower is very near.

3. Birds

Wild geese, wild geese, going out to sea, all fine weather it will be. 
Wild geese, wild geese, going to the hill, The weather it will spill.

If the robin sings in the bush, then the weather will be coarse;
If the robin sings on the barn, then the weather will be warm.

If the rooster crows on going to bed, you may rise with a watery head.

When the swallow’s nest is high, the summer is very dry;
When the swallow buildeth low, you can safely reap and sow.

Check out more bird weather folklore!

4. Elk

Deer and elk come down from the mountains at least two days before a storm.

5. Deer

When deer are in gray coat in October, expect a severe winter.

6. Donkeys

When the donkey blows his horn, 
‘Tis time to house your hay and corn.

7. Squirrels

When a squirrel eats nuts in a tree,
weather is as warm as warm can be.

8. Cats

cat lying in the sun

When the cat lies in the Sun in February,
she will creep behind the stove in March.

If a cat sits with its back to the fire,
frost and hard weather can be expected.

More cat forecasting folklore here.

So before you put away your foul weather gear, observe how your pets or wild animals are behaving!

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Sechoocha Makhoalibe

Tell me more

Dorothy L Baldwin

I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I have noticed the deer on our property that their coats have turned grey in the last few weeks, thus a hard winter for us!


I have heard that with the ladybugs they never have been wrong about the weather and it is 6 months in advance as well. Love those ladies#!!


If you rub their back they bring you good luck to also when a certain part of my body hurts there’s a storm coming

Last edited 2 years ago by Sandra
I always heard that when you heard your first locus near the end of summer it was six more weeks until frost.

I always heard that when you heard your first locus near the end of summer it was six more weeks until frost.

Julie Anderson

Love those weather predictors. Some actually make sense.



Syndee Lee

When a squirrel builds it’s winter nest look where it is placed in the tree. If it is up high in the tree, that means we will have a lot of snow for winter. If it is lower in the tree, that means less snow. If it is placed in the outer, thinner branches, that means it will not be very windy that winter. If it is placed in a crotch of a branch that means a windy winter. If it is built against a trunk, look for a bad winter. Also if you don’t see many nests in a good squrrel area, winter is not yet set in. When you see a lot of nests all of a sudden, then winter is finally set in. And the opposite is true for spring. When suddenly all the nests are disappearing, spring is finally here.

When butchering a chicken from your area in the fall, look at the grizzly part on the breast bone. If it is long, that means you will have a long winter. If it is short, you will have a short winter. If it is narrow, it will be a cold winter. If it is wide, that means it will be a mild winter.

If you see a fly in your home in winter, that means warm weather is either here or will be.

If it is raining and chickens won’t go outside in it. That means the rain will soon stop. But if the chickens go outside in the rain, that means that it will rain all day.



Tina T

I’ve heard old people say if the husk on corn is thick it will be hard winter ❄️. Also if it’s raining ☔️ and the dew is risen that’s a sign the rain will end.


Here in MS you can bet it will rain soon after your hear the rain frogs croak! We have gone through many dry spells in the summer and early fall and they were silent. Once your hear them, at any time of the day, we usually get rain within 24 hours.

Elva Y Derby

It is my humble opinion, but I firmly believe that animals know more than we do when it comes to predicting weather, especially when it come to the winter forecast, I’m on my way to 92 years of living on this blessed Earth, and some things never change. for which I’m very grateful. <3


As a little child I learned from my Nanna that when the leaves on the bushes turned slightly upward, it was sure to rain. They turned upward in order to catch the raindrops. I would eagerly watch and it always did rain later that day. I do love the lore.

Susan Higgins

Hi CarolAnn, your Nanna was correct! We have a story on it here: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/can-leaves-predict-a-storm-3195

Tracy Anne

I also look at the leaves of bushes and trees. When turned upward, rain within 24 hours.


Cottonwood trees show the undersides to the rain. Being brighter than the topsides, it appears the wind is blowing the leaves, but they are avoiding the rain.


This is a great one! Thank you!

Meryl Easson

And what about the sky telling us , too?
Our Dad told us:
Red in the morning, sailor take warning,
Red at night, sailor’s delight.

Susan Higgins

Pink sky at night sailors delight pink sky in the morning sailors take warning


My grandmother would be 122 years old now. She taught me to listen to the Red Bird
Cardinal When his tweets sounded like the cadence of ( wet–wet–sure) It was going to rain. I have found that to be true here in Kentucky


If the weather’s been somewhat mild for winter and you hear crows, there will be snow within 24 hrs.


The best way I’ve found to predict weather is to go outside!


You are the occasional but absolute rational advisor❤️


If you hear a mourning dove cooing expect rain within next three days – this is absolutely a fact


If Cows are laying down it’s gonna rain and fish aren’t biting. If they’re standing- no rain. If it’s been somewhat dry and all of a sudden you see a small “whirlwind “ , it’s going to be dry for a little longer. My Grandmother also taught me what rain beads looked like in the sky. It’s a certain way clouds will form looking like a sting of beads. It’s still a good indication rain is to follow.


You were using the wrong bait

Suzanne Mattson

[email protected]
The one about the Woolly Worm wasn’t listed. When I lived in Kentucky we could tell how severe the winter was going to be by the brown stripe on the fuzzy Woolly Worms that appeared in the fall.

Cynthia Roldan

We need to pass these down to future generations along with survival skills on what plants are good to eat and which ones can be used for medicine. I still keep my grandmoms manual can openers (the one you have to push to make a hole in the can and work around the top). Always good to be prepared when the electric fails.

richard king

when a winter front is coming in i watch the black birds.. if they are flocking and swarming and feeding it means that the ground will be covered in oklahoma..


I love all these I can’t get enought

Pam G

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I used to man a forestry fire tower, and I soon realized that when a storm was brewing, the squirrels and chipmunks would all come out and scream at one another. Took me awhile to catch on, but then I realized that this was a very reliable indicator.

Laura Buckley

Back when you could go for a leisurely Sunday drive we always checked what the cows in the field were doing.If laying down rain was likely.If most were up you could leave the umbrella home.
Love the lore.

Ann Harris

Love the folklore,

Jean Jackson

When a gray squirrel has an unusually bushy tail in Autumn, it will be a harsh winter. That was from my grandmother, and I’ve never seen it proven wrong!

Kim Massengill

Here in Kentucky there are plenty of deer and Ive noticed their color was so dark this year..and our persimmon seeds have had the spoon…so now I know thank you for the information. 🙂


Never heard the one about a cow scratching an ear but we looked to see if most were laying down in the field and then we would expect a rainy yield.
Love these bits of lore.Pass them on so they are not lost.Thanks.

allison cowin

This stuff is gold. It is losing ground in this era. So please never stop what you do. And for those that read it, please pass it down to your children. It’s too important to lose.

Kimberly Fuselier

I love reading the Farmer’s Almanac. Love the folklore & also the useful tips & tricks!

Pat M

This is January and I have noticed the squirrels chewing away at the pecans still in the trees. By this folklore poem, this means it will be warm. I am wondering for how long. This is the last day of January and it has been quite warm here in North eastern Oklahoma. So, I can say that one is very true. Now, what about February???


Gail has your pet deer lost its winter coat yet just curious. My cat has been sun bathing in the windo a lot lately and try’s to get out side but when it was cold he stayed in and didn’t want nothing to do with outside


My pet deer started getting their winter coat in august. So I knew the winter would be colder.

marcelle spano

This is an Awesome folklore. I have made a copy of it..Its good to learn new things each day..thanks and have a blessed weekend.


🙂 OK !

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