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Do Animals Have A Sixth Sense?

Written by Lex Basu
Updated: September 27, 2022
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Key Points

  • There are five senses that can be scientifically identified, the sense of smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch.
  • Many have claimed that there is another sense which cannot be defined or identified within the known scientific parameters, it is called sixth sense.
  • Sixth sense is often referred to the ability to sense things that go beyond the five senses. For example, animals can sense when a natural calamity is near, or dogs can sense any person’s intent and nature.

It is commonly known that animals have five main senses, touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing with the possible inclusion of balance. But is there really such a thing as having a sixth sense?

Most species of shark have sensors on the sides of their heads, which the sharks use to detect tiny muscle movements from creatures nearby. This “sixth sense” is known as electroreception and allows sharks to detect electromagnetic fields produced all animals.

Shark swimming underwater with lots of smaller fish
Sharks have long been thought to have a sixth sense.

©Jennifer Mellon Photos/Shutterstock.com

For centuries now, it has also been questioned as to whether certain species of animal including rats, chickens, and snakes have the ability to detect earthquakes! These animals have to been known to leave earthquake zones up to days before the earthquake arrives, with this behavior also being displayed more recently during the devastating tsunami in southeast Asia in 2004 where there were very few wild animals harmed.

If you would like to read more about the studies into the sixth sense of animals please see:

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About the Author

Lex is a green-living, tree-hugging, animal-lover, who at one time was the mother to twenty one felines and one doggo. Now she helps pet owners around the globe be the best caretakers for their most trusting companions by sharing her experience and spreading love.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals