We all know that human has five normal senses, namely; sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. In some documented cases, a number of individuals possess a sixth sense – or what experts define as ESP. However, if we will talk about animals, then the list of senses might be much longer. Several animals have additional sensitive abilities that enable them to adapt to their surroundings. Here’s a list of 10 animals that has a sixth sense.
Do you know what spiders have as their sixth sense? Well, their exoskeletons are well equipped with a mechanoreceptory organ known as slit sensilla. This small sensory organ allows spiders to detect sudden strains or activities occurring on their exoskeletons. Primarily, the slit sensilla reacts to mechanical stimuli such as acceleration, force, or displacements. In so doing, it enables spiders to gauge the size, weight, and on some cases – the type of prey captured in their webs.
The animal kingdom has numbers of remarkable feat it can brag about! One such feat is Sea turtles preference to lay their eggs on the very beach where they were born. Adult females ability to undertake vast distances to locate their nesting beach make the feat more remarkable! How do they do that? Sea turtles achieve this act by measuring the Earth’s magnetic field.
Homing pigeons and many migratory birds are equipped with a sense they use for navigation. This sense is called magnetoreception. Homing pigeons accomplish this feat by using the Earth’s magnetic field as a compass to navigate great distances. Also, homing pigeon beaks have iron-containing structures enabling them to understand their geographical position.
Much like sea turtles returning to their home beach, Salmon have the ability to locate their hometown rivers to spawn despite traveling thousands of miles in the open ocean. One of Science mysteries is how salmon achieve such remarkable feat? Two reasons have been pointed out; first, salmon have a sophisticated sense of smell enabling them to distinguish the smell of their home stream from any other. Second, many believe that salmon have the ability to pick up the Earth’s magnetic field utilizing ferromagnetic mineral deposits in their brains.
Many “Microbats” or those insect-eating bats use echolocation for navigation and for catching their prey. Echolocation is the biological sonar use by bats, where ultrasounds are emitted through their mouths or nose producing echoes. Their brains analyze the returning echoes and give them a detailed image of their surroundings. Thus, even in total darkness, echolocation aids bats in locating, estimating the distance, direction the object is moving, and even identifying the objects in their surroundings.
All Pit Vipers share one remarkable feature in common – a pair of deep “pits” located between the nostril and the eye. These pits are actually sensitive heat-detecting organs; in fact a sixth sense that allow them to locate prey in the dark. So remarkable this organ is, that it can estimate how far the prey is and the size of the prey!
Comb Jellies have an extraordinary sense organ called statocysts (balance receptors), a fluid-filled sac containing stone-like elements (statoliths). This balance sensor helps comb jellies to facilitate movement on the ocean’s currents. Since most known species of comb jellies lack a centralized nervous system, they rely on statocysts to better orient the movements of their cilia in searching for food.
Most Dolphins have poor vision, they rely mainly in their sense of hearing (located in small ear openings on both sides of the head) for navigation. However, they maximize the use of their sixth sense – echolocation! Since sounds travel better in water than in air, these charismatic mammals are able to produce a three-dimensional picture of their environment based mainly on sound waves.
Using echolocation, dolphin emits steady pulses of ultrasonic sound which then bounce off objects in their surroundings; and is then reflected back to the dolphin. This process enables dolphins to determine how far is the object by measuring the time between emitting the clicks and the returning “echo”. By echolocation, dolphins can determine the direction of movement, shape and size, shape, of its prey.
Like sharks, Platypus have an incredible sense of electroreception – the ability to distinguish electrical impulses. These electroreceptors are located in their bills, which sense tiny electrical currents produced when their prey contracts its muscles. By moving their head in a side-to-side motion, platypus are able to determine the distance of prey when hunting. Also, the platypus bill has mechanoreceptors, an acute sense of touch.
Weatherfish, or weather loaches, have a cunning way to determine changes in pressure. They use their air-filled swim bladder (buoyancy organ) to check buoyancy underwater. Amazingly, this sixth sense enables weather loaches to “predict” the weather. If placed in an aquarium, these fish can predict if a storm is approaching! How? Since, air pressure drops rapidly as storm approaches, its swim bladder expands thus it’s harder for the fish to stay underwater. In this case, the fish will rise to the surface and swims like crazy.