Observe animals and you’ll see that they, too, have their own ways of predicting the weather. Here are some animal weather proverbs and prognostics.
Can Cows Forecast Weather?
Perhaps the greatest amount of weather folklore surrounds cows. Certainly, their bodies are affected by changes in air pressure. This is also true of sheep, cats, and us.
- If a cow stands with its tail to the west, the weather is said to be fair.
- If a cow grazes with its tail to the east, the weather is likely to turn sour.
There is some truth here. Animals graze with their tail toward the wind so that if a predator sneaks up behind them, the wind will help catch the scent of the predator and prevent an attack. The cow’s prediction might be wrong during a hurricane, however.
Observing Animals to Predict Rain
Expect rain when dogs eat grass, cats purr and wash, sheep turn into the wind, oxen sniff the air, and swine are restless.
If the bull leads the cows to pasture, expect rain; if the cows precede the bull, the weather will be uncertain.
When hungry bites the thirsty flea, rain and clouds you sure shall see.
When cats sneeze, it is a sign of rain.
When cattle lie down in the pasture, it indicates early rain.
When horses and cattle stretch out their necks and sniff the air, it will rain.
Woolly bear caterpillars are famous for their winter predictions. Photo by sillyputtyenemies/Wikimedia.
Can Animals Predict Winter Weather?
Woolly bear caterpillars are said to be winter weather predictors: The more brown they have on their bodies, the milder winter will be. Read more about woolly bears!
If the mole digs its hole 2½ feet deep, expect severe weather; if two feet deep, not so severe; if one foot deep, a mild winter.
When pigs gather leaves and straw in fall, expect a cold winter.
When rabbits are fat in October and November, expect a long, cold winter.
Other Weather Folklore
If sheep ascend hills and scatter, expect clear weather.
Bats flying late in the evening indicates fair weather.
Wolves always howl more before a storm.
- Birds and insects may be the best weather predictors of them all. See how birds predict weather.
- Did you know that you can also predict the temperature by measuring how often crickets chirp? Find out how here!
- Also, check out this great video to learn more about how animals predict the weather.
Did we miss any animal weather proverbs? Please share proverbs that you’ve heard in the comments below!