Snakes: fortune tellers of the sea?

Published on October 25th, 2011
Snakes: fortune tellers of the sea?

Paul the psychic octopus (remember him from the 2010 Soccer World Cup) has passed on, may his soul RIP. But that doesn’t mean the animal kingdom is giving up on predicting the future…

There seems to something about world sporting events and animals predicting the final outcome. At the 2011 Rugby World Cup, a psychic sheep in New Zealand predicted a home victory for the All Blacks, and we all know how that played out…

But, this story isn’t about sport, it’s about animals and their apparent psychic ability. Take snakes for example…

In August 2009, Typhoon Morakot passed over Orchid Island, Taiwan. Researchers had been counting sea snakes in the area in July (before the typhoon), and they counted them again after the typhoon. And a few hardcore (or crazy) scientists went counting during the typhoon itself.

Before and after the typhoon, they counted about 20 snakes on average. But during the two days of weather madness, they found only a single snake (and it wasn’t very happy).

So how did the snakes avoid the typhoon? The researchers found that the higher the air pressure at sea level, the more snakes they found on that day. And typhoons are accompanied by lower air pressure. So when the snakes felt the air get thin, they knew it was time to slither off to their underwater lairs and wait for the storm to pass.

Ok, so they can’t read palms or anything, but that’s pretty cool don’t you think?