Do animals have a sixth sense?

Many animals have the most amazing abilities that humans can only dream of. Some can fly, others are very fast, and still others have a fantastic sense of smell. But do animals also have a sixth sense?

Can dogs, cats and other animals predict the future?  – Shutterstock / DragoNika

Can dogs, cats and other animals predict the future? – Shutterstock / DragoNika

How is it that dogs sense when their master or mistress is sick, or that animals go haywire when a natural disaster is imminent? It is often said that animals have a sixth sense and may even be able to see clairvoyantly. But is that true?

Anticipate disasters with your sixth sense?

Whether tsunamis, volcanic eruptions or forest fires – animals seem to be able to predict these natural disasters. In December 2004, for example, hardly any animals were killed by the tsunami in Asia, but tens of thousands of people did. It is assumed that the elephants, mice and co. got to safety in time because they already knew intuitively about the giant wave.

People have often observed how animals get restless before earthquakes, fires or volcanic eruptions and behave differently than usual. Several studies have also confirmed the assumption that dogs can anticipate illnesses such as cancer or epileptic seizures in their favorite human. But since animals usually perceive their environment very differently from humans, and their sensory organs are sometimes very differently developed, it is difficult to find a clear answer to the question of the sixth sense in animals.

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Animals are often “more subtle” than humans

Humans essentially rely on their intellect, language and sight to perceive, comprehend and navigate their environment. Animals only have their sensory organs for this, which are developed differently depending on the animal species and breed. An excellent sense of smell, a fine sense of hearing that can perceive particularly low and high frequencies, a sensitive sense of touch or the ability to see at dusk help dogs, cats and other animals to survive.

So maybe it’s not a sixth sense that seems to let animals foresee catastrophes, but rather a particularly fine perception of their environment. For example, elephants have such good ears that they could hear the tsunami in Asia from afar; their sense of touch is so excellent that they can feel the finest vibrations in the ground. Dogs do not anticipate illnesses through their sixth sense, but rather sniff out the subtly altered smell of their master or mistress.

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