How do animals find their way home without any road signs? Unlike humans, animals don’t have Google Maps to give them direction. Geomagnetic fields, which are an innate directional sense in animals, may be the start of the answer. Amazing stories have proven this new compass-like quality in animals.
The Cat Came Back…
200 miles is what this cat traveled in order to find home again. Veronique Greenwood explains in her article from Time Magazine, “She carried an implanted microchip—one put there by a loving owner—and it revealed an intriguing story: the cat belonged to a local family, had been lost on a trip two months earlier, and had traveled 200 miles (322 km) in that time to arrive back in her hometown”.
Dog Compass-The New Superpower
Amazing is this story and others like Buck, as AMY JAMIESON writes about the Labrador who traveled 500 miles back to South Carolina. According to her article, she interviews Buck’s owner, Mark Wessels, as he was distraught to see Buck missing, ““I thought he was gone forever,” he told South Carolina’s WPDE News.””.
These animal magicians aren’t playing a simple trick. Rather, they have tapped into a type of magnetic evolution. The downfall of this is, there aren’t many cases in cats, because dogs are much easier to study. There are, however, explanations that correlate in smaller animals.
The University of Illinois explained their information on animal travel. According to them, bacteria uses Mechanical Reception, which is what senses magnetic fields in the environment. Fish use these organs, called magnetoreceptors, to find their way down stream.
Dogs can see magnetic fields. The picture below is an artists representation of what the magnetic fields would look like, as humans cannot see them.
Dogs do have some special powers, as they may be able to sense the Earth’s magnetic field in relation to their defication. Yup, that’s right, they poop in the direction towards the north. A study from Frontiers in Zoology by Vlastimil Hart and others, quoted, “A discovery of magnetoreception in dogs”. Therefore, the next time you are taking your dog for a walk…bring a pooper scooper, and see if any magic happens.
There you have it folks. The tale of lost and found. If you are an animal like me, microchip is the way to go.