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Hot Out? Count The Number of Cricket Chirps

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Hot Out? Count The Number of Cricket Chirps

You’ve probably heard lore about animals that can predict the weather. Like the groundhog, for example, and Groundhog Day. Some of the folklore sayings (like, “if a cat washes her face over the ear, ‘tis a sign weather will be fine and clear”) may sound silly or hard to believe, but some are based on observations of animals that seem to sense more about our environment than we do. Here are just a few animals that have things to tell us about the weather.

Dangerous Weather

Animals seem to have a sixth sense for danger that people might do well to observe.


Before a hurricane, sharks that rarely leave their home waters will flee the path of the storm, responding to changes in barometric pressure, while seagulls and other birds instinctively fly inland.


While not really “weather,” earthquakes are also something that animals are in tune to. You may have heard stories about animals and earthquakes: many are far more sensitive to vibrations in the ground than humans, and extreme changes in animal behavior can sometimes be an indicator that an earthquake is about to occur. After the 2005 tsunami in Sri Lanka, it was reported that very few animals were killed despite the massive loss of human life. Many of them were also acting strangely in the day before the tsunami hit. It seems likely that they sensed something coming and knew to flee to safety.  A good rule is, if the animals are making a getaway, you probably should too.

Hot Weather

The sound of crickets chirping is a sure sign of summer, but did you know that it can also tell you how hot it is? Crickets are cold-blooded so when the temperature in the air changes, the cricket’s body temperature changes with it. As the temperature rises, the cricket’s metabolism increases, allowing the process that triggers the chirp-creating muscle contractions to happen more quickly. Frequent chirping is a sure sign that the heat is rising!

  • To figure out the exact temperature in degrees Fahrenheit: count the number of chirps in 14 seconds, and add 40.
  • To get Celsius temperature: count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide that by 3, and then add 4.


Do animals tell us when a storm is coming? Birds react to the drop in air pressure before a storm by flying low, and not flying at all an hour or so before the storm hits. Other animals behave strangely before a storm too–bats fly low and insects stay close to the ground, while wolves howl because the pressure change hurts their ears.

What about cows laying down before it rains?

Early Freezes

Fishermen have noticed that in the fall, migrating fish come back early in years when there are early freezes, but they come out later than usual in years when lakes and rivers freeze late.

Enjoy the sound of crickets!

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1 Danielle { 04.13.16 at 12:02 pm }

Hello from the Appalachian foothills of Dahlonega, GA.
They say the number of times it fogs on the mountain in August is how many times it will snow that winter.

2 Dee { 04.10.16 at 1:18 pm }

When the cows lay down, it means they are tired. When they all huddle under the shade of a large tree, it means the sun is really hot on their backs and they want some relief. When the cows all huddle together in a group at a corner of the pasture, it means it’s group therapy time. Even cows have problems!

3 Phyllis Raymond { 04.10.16 at 10:18 am }

This is for fishermen.I was told by a little old man up near Harlem, Ga. that he used to drive around to see if cows were laying down because if they were you might as well stay at home because fish was not biting. If they were up and moving, go fishing.

4 Jean Hawes { 04.09.16 at 11:59 pm }

Well, I know for a fact that when you hear the Canadian geese flying overhead, it usually means fall is around the corner. When you hear them again in spring, it means warm weather and spring is just around the corner. I never really noticed it til I moved where I am living now. You know why geese just walk around certain places in the summer? Well, the geese lose their flight feathers during the summer while they are raising their young anyway. When they molt (lose feathers) during summer, when they grow all their feathers back and their family is all grown up. It is time for them to take flight, hence fall time and they all fly South for the winter. I am guessing they go south? Humm?

5 Mario { 04.09.16 at 6:44 pm }

When cows lay down it means that rain is coming.

6 Carol Jackson { 09.10.14 at 2:09 pm }

They say when cats clean behind their ears that the weather is getting ready to change. There is a gland behind their ears that bothers them when the pressure out side changes.

7 Vicki { 09.10.14 at 7:07 am }

Our harbingers of winter are the grey seals. We might see the odd one at any time, but if there’s a pod of them in the river, it will freeze over within the week.

8 Doreen { 09.09.14 at 4:24 pm }

A couple of years ago we had a slight earthquake in the middle of the night (Illinois). Approximately 15 seconds before it hit, we were awaken by the sound of our German Sheperd scratching her nails on the floor while getting up, and then start whining and pacing. Then we felt it. She felt something before we did.

9 Jenny Marie { 09.09.14 at 1:03 pm }

I have complied a whole list of Weather Folklore on my blog

10 Roger Martin { 06.03.14 at 5:56 pm }

They all sound like great ways to get the weather. After all, our great granpaws n granmaws didn’t. Have TV to rely on. Not mine anyway!

11 daisy { 05.31.14 at 10:57 am }

Yep, a lot of these are familiar. Our Oak tree out back is the last to leaf out in spring, so never gets caught in our late Colorado snows. It also flips its leaves over when rain is coming. And is the first to drop its leaves in fall when winter is near. Although one doesn’t see them hardly anymore, heavy wool on wooly caterpillars could foretell a heavy winter. In New England my grandma said, “Red sky at morning, Sailor take warning, Red sky at night, Sailor’s delight.”

12 elizabeth { 05.30.14 at 7:44 pm }

My Pop Pop was a navy sailor. He swore when you saw seagulls flying inland, a storm was coming.

13 Kendra S. { 02.02.13 at 10:22 pm }

livin in the country these past 6 years has taught me a couple things also. if there is dew on the morning grass u can exect a fair weather day, if there is no dew on the grass u can expect rain that day. if u happen to see a shiny spot in the sky that appears to be rainbow in color called a “sun dog” it will rain w/i 48hrs. buzzards come back from the south when warmer weather in near too.

14 Laurie Prather { 02.02.13 at 1:59 pm }

I was told to watch the leaves on a tree is they turned upward there was rain comming.

15 kenneth { 05.09.10 at 8:58 am }

i grew up in the suburbs and loved it.now i live in the suburbs in al.i have a few cows and they can tell you the weather if you can sit and watch long enough.hopefully one day i will find an partner that will enjoy also.the birds are very informative.

16 Sheila { 05.05.10 at 1:58 pm }

My Irish family swore when grazing sheep gathered low on the hillside it was going to rain. And I think I remember being told sheep and cows will lie down and get their bellies on the ground in bad weather. Animals are fascinating.

17 Corliss Tolliver { 05.05.10 at 1:40 pm }

I grew up on a farm also. When we worked in the fields, my mom would always tell us , “keep your eyes to the sky.” So if the clouds start to rise and got dark we new to head to the house. I still use that saying today.

18 Charlotte { 05.05.10 at 11:56 am }

We live in the foothills. We have noticed over a period of time that when the Tarantulas come out then we are in for a weather change. Also, if we have an abundance of acorns on the oak trees, we will have a heavy winter.

19 Pam { 05.05.10 at 10:24 am }

This is true. Everyone should remember last Fall and the signs that the animals gave us to let us know about the upcoming bad winter we had. Thanks to the Farmers Almanac I knew what to look for.

20 Beverly { 05.05.10 at 9:54 am }

I grew up on a farm. Therefore I learned about different signs from what my Mom would say and other signs that would predict the weather. To this day some I still take seriously.

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