Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Part 2: Animals have keener perception than humans, take heed!

Abe V Rotor

6. When earthworms crawl out of their holes, a flood is coming.
This subterranean annelid has built-in sensors, a biblical Noah’s sense of a coming flood, so to speak. Its small brain is connected to nerve clusters, called ganglia, running down the whole body length. These in turn are connected to numerous hair-like protrusions on the cuticle, which serve as receptor. When rain saturates the soil, ground water rises and before it reaches their burrows, they crawl out to higher grounds where they seek refuge until the flood or the rainy season is over. The more earthworms abandoning their burrows, the more we should take precaution.

7. Dogs howl in the night at unseen spirits.
Dogs have keen senses of seeing, smelling and hearing, many times more sensitive than ours. Many animals such as members of the cat family - lions, tigers, and the domesticated cat – are equally, if not more sensitive, in the dark. They also have infrared vision that enhances their predatory habits. Dogs also have an acute sense of smell. The nose of a German shepherd dog has 25,000 sensory cells as compared with the human nose that has only 5,000 cells. That is why dogs are used in sniffing concealed illegal drugs and in tracking down criminals. The limitation of our senses is the mother of many of our beliefs or superstitions.

8. Animals are uneasy before an earthquake.
It is because they are sensitive to the vibrations preceding an earthquake. They perceive the small numerous crackling of the earth before the final break (tectonic), which is the earthquake. As a means of self-preservation they try to escape from stables and pens, seek shelter, run to higher grounds, or simply escape to areas far from the impending earthquake. Rodents come out of their abode, reptiles move away from the water, horses neigh and kick around. During the December 26, 2004 tsunami, elephants in Sri Lanka defied their masters, in effect saving them from the disaster. We humans can only detect such minute movements through our inventions such as the Richter Scale.

9. Mosquitoes bite more aggressively before rain.
True. As it prepares to lay eggs, the female mosquito must obtain blood from its host, usually human. to enhance fertility. Failure to do so may cause egg sterility. This finding is useful in scientific research to control mosquitoes without the use of harmful chemicals and destroying the environment.

The mosquito has built-in instruments of a weather bureau, so to speak. They are found in its pair of plumose antenna and tactile hairs that serve as barometer to detect atmospheric pressure, thermometer to register temperature, and hygrometer to sense the level of relative humidity. Note: Only the female mosquito feeds on blood, the male depends on plant sap and exudates.

10. Cicada sings for rain.
When you hear the shrilling song of cicada (kuliglig), it means the rains have arrived. And we expect more rains brought in by the southeast monsoon or habagat in the months to come, ending in October. The cicada spends its immature or nymph stage in the ground feeding on roots of plants. There are species that complete their life cycle in one year (annual cicada which is most common), two years, and seventeen years (often called seventeen-year old locust. Whatever is the species, the emergence of cicada is at the onset of the rainy season, usually in April or May in most part of the country.

Rain softens the soil and signals the full-grown nymph to get out of its cell. It then climbs to the nearest tree and at some distance from the ground metamorphoses into an adult. It is the male cicada that “sings”, which is actually a continuous rapid high-pitched sound - tick-tack-tick-tack… produced by a pair of drums attached on its abdomen. Imagine the lid of a tin can pressed and released in rapid succession. On the other hand, the female cicada is totally mute and her response to a love call is to get near a Romeo whose song pleases her.

11. A black butterfly that enters the house tells that a close relative is going to die.
There is no scientific explanation to this, except that butterflies are attracted by flower-like scents which perfumeries have been trying to copy. Check the brand of your perfume and call the company. Beware though of certain perfumes, they attract bees.

12. Sea turtle about to be butchered shed tears.
A sudden change in environment activates the tear glands to secrete fluid, which we attribute as tears. Such a sight draws pathetic feelings that may save the life of the fated creature. Because sea turtles are endangered species, their tears mean much more to the fate of man. Analogously, “the bell tolls, but tolls for thee.” ~

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