Animals and Hurricanes
Posted: December 31, 2018
In Jacksonville, Florida, cats are flying.
About 100 cats and kittens took a plane ride out of Florida on October 15. Why? They were freeing up space! The cats were moved out of animal shelters to make room for animals that needed somewhere to stay because of Hurricane Michael.
Whenever a bad storm like Michael hits, pets get separated from their owners. After similar storms, animal workers learned a lesson: Don’t take family pets out of their home state. Once that happens, it can be very hard for animals and owners to find each other again. The cats being moved were flown to shelters in Delaware. Pets stuck in the storm were taken to local Florida shelters until their owners returned to claim them.
When storms hit, power goes out. Floods wash property away. People must evacuate to safety and later rebuild. But God’s creation is interconnected, and a storm brings consequences you might not think of. Hurricanes are one-eyed monsters. Their wild wind draws up water from the sea and slams it down onto places where people and animals make their homes. Hurricanes have serious consequences for animals. That includes six-legged ones like bees. It includes four-footed ones like cats. And it includes every other kind of creature too!
Some wildlife can sense coming storms. Birds feel barometric pressure drop. It isn’t time for them to migrate, but they go anyway to escape. Other animals that can’t flee so quickly get caught in the storm. Animal food supplies can be wiped out too. Squirrels’ nut supplies get washed away. So people bring in emergency squirrel food.
Hurricanes can suck up the water animals live in. After Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, people had to rescue manatees stuck in a dried-out bay. Electrical wires sometimes fall into water, electrocuting fish. Mussels and oysters cannot move. They can’t do anything about it if hurricane winds blow them where they can’t survive.
But a storm isn’t always bad news. Some kinds of toads and frogs can breed more easily in the extra water brought by hurricanes. Scavenging raccoons find additional food after a hurricane blows everything around. And toppled trees give black bears extra places to build homes. For a few animals, hurricanes have good consequences!