What Do Animals Do When It Rains?

Some, like Canada geese, don’t mind the rain, while others think and have ways to protect themselves during storms.

You may remember our January 2016 blog, “Where Will Animals Go During a Snowstorm?,” where you learned how wildlife survives heavy winter snow.

I was curious about how animals cope with summer thunderstorms, so I asked Kristen Sinclair, a Park Authority ecologist, about their habits and preferences for rainy weather.

Here are some typical members of the Fairfax County wildlife community and their rain tolerance.

Deer: Deer go about their business in light rain.

Some deer hunters say that light rain is the best time to hunt.

In heavy rain, deer will seek shelter.

Squirrels: Squirrels nest in leaves on tree branches or, like woodpeckers, in hollow trees.

Hollow tree nests provide good protection from the rain.

Some small squirrels can actually suffocate in nests of open leaves during a spring storm.

Giant squirrels use their tails like umbrellas and will stay out of the rain.

Birds: This helicopter has made a nest in a tree, so it is safe from storms.

Many birds have oil glands that they use to clean themselves, so their oiled feathers are waterproof.

The water is rolling, just like a duck’s back.

Their feathers are waterproof, so they usually won’t hunt in the rain.

Beavers: Beavers have oil glands in their skin that help them maintain their body heat, which is very helpful since they spend a lot of time in and around water.

The oil makes their fur waterproof just like feathers make birds.

Fur and feathers are designed to repel water, and beaver fur does, so insects don’t care about rain.

However, they make their homes on the water, so heavy floods are more likely to destroy their homes.

Insects, Foxes, Mice, Rabbits, and other small mammals: Animals that live underground will hide in their burrows.

They build ditches to keep them from flooding, which allows wildlife to shelter at home during a severe storm.

Bats, like this silver-haired bat, actually have fur and are mammals.

If they get wet, their body temperature can drop quickly, and the water affects their ability to fly.

Bats will hide under certain trees where the bark provides space and protection.

Insects: Flying insects cannot fly in the rain, especially butterflies and moths.

The best weather for butterflies, like the Great Spangled Fritillary, is hot and sunny.

Insects hide under the leaves of trees to stay dry, using the leaves the way people use umbrellas.

Fish: Since they live only in water, they are actually affected by the rain, although they may migrate due to the change of hot weather to clouds.

Sometimes the fish become active and feed before the storm, perhaps because of the changing atmospheric pressure, but small bluegills or bass mistake raindrops on the surface for food. they learn quickly.

Salamanders and Frogs: Amphibians love the rain!

Remember that amphibians spend time outdoors and in water.

Salamanders, like this spotted one, migrate and give birth in the rain, using small pools formed in the forest by storms.

Snakes: Some snakes adapt to water, such as water snakes and water moccasins, but those that don’t spend their time in water can avoid them as much as possible.

Water would not help their scale, and in desert areas some species have been known to protect themselves during rain in man-made structures, including human houses.

When there is a strong storm, like a hurricane, everything takes cover.