How do animals deal with floods?


Excessive rains can be harmful to many animals, even for those who live in the water, so it is necessary that they find new ways to survive them.

With the advent of the rainy season in the United States, animals in the wild and in captivity are developing new ways to cope with floods.

The reaction of the animals depends on three basic elements: the species, the personality of each animal and the possibility of access to shelters made by man.

In addition to humans, orangutans are the ones who have found the best ways to protect themselves from the rain, as these animals live in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra where rainfall is a daily reality.

During the course of storms, orangutans produce protective awnings and a sort of “hat” with leaves; While in zoos they often use more attractive materials.

“Here in Seattle it rains practically every day,” Gigi Allianic, a spokeswoman for the city’s Woodland Zoo, told Discovery News. “Our orangutans are often wrapped in burlap bags and sit in the rain, but like many other zoo animals they also have the option of sheltering indoors.”

Most land animals are looking for some kind of shelter. In nature they can be hidden in a tree, a hollow trunk, under rocks or underground. Smaller animals such as squirrels and mice are piled inside their shelters to try to keep warm.

In addition, it seems that the rain annoys the vast majority of species, even the aquatic. During torrential rain, animals such as frogs, turtles and fish should be protected at the deepest levels of lakes and ponds; And seek shelter to avoid falling rocks and loose logs.

However, many animals remain out in the open and try to tolerate moisture.

“The brown bears of our zoo do this very often, despite having the option to enter the shelters,” Allianic said. He also added that bears are excellent swimmers.

“Crocodiles are very skilled at weathering the weather,” Nick Hanna, an assistant curator at the New Orleans Natural Audubon Institute, told Discovery News. “They remain calm and calm and never panic, not even in the worst storms.”

But some animals do lose their calm, though not necessarily because of the rain.

“We found that certain animals feel safer in the open than in a shelter,” Hanna said. “When enclosed, ostriches tend to hit the walls. And African antelopes sometimes get so scared that they also run straight into the walls. ”

These species, however, have awnings or open lateral structures to protect themselves from the sun and rain.

In some cases, the reaction of an animal is related to its own personality. Hanna and Allianic pointed out that some primates and elephants resist better than other storms, especially when presented with lightning and thunder.

“The most fearful specimens can become frightened and tend to take refuge in enclosed spaces,” Allianic explained. “Even large elephants and apes can behave like dogs or cats when they try to react to lightning and thunder.”

But while some animals try to escape the frightening noises, there are others who choose to get wet.

The good news is that furry animals, such as giant pandas, tigers, brown bears, kangaroos and other species, have the innate ability to shake and dry in a few seconds.

Very recently, Andrew Dickerson of the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with his colleagues Zachary Mills and David Hu, determined that these shakes were perfectly adapted to each species, its size and anatomy. And loose skin seems to play a key role in this process.

“By shaking around the body, that skin speeds up the time the droplets move away from the fur, ensuring a relative dryness in the firmer skin layer,” said Dickerson and his team.

This discovery also helped explain why every time a dog shakes, everything around it is soaked while the animal ends up completely dry.