Updated on November 29, 2023

As Hurricane Ian barreled across the Southeast, animals of all species were looking for shelter. Wild Kingdom Host Peter Gros explains how wildlife uses natural instincts to survive.

Intuition Saves Animals

Some animals like waterfowl and birds are sensitive to changes in the atmospheric pressure that occur when a storm is near. Because of these atmospheric changes, they’ll fly inland well in advance of a storm.

Panthers and large mammals instinctively head to higher ground, just like humans do. If you’re evacuating, know that they’re an increased chance you’ll encounter a panther. If you see a panther, stay calm, keep your distance and don’t approach it. In general, panthers are quiet and will stay away from humans.

Marine life also senses an incoming storm. Some animals such as manatees head inland to river sanctuaries whereas dolphins search for deeper water.

What to Do for Wildlife During Storms

The best rule of thumb is to steer clear of the animals. Leave them alone. When the storms subside, the animals will return or move on to their natural habitat.

If you see animals who are injured or are not leaving your residential area contact your local wildlife agency.

After the storm, be particularly careful during clean up. Snakes could be sheltering under debris. Should you encounter a snake, back away and give it space to retreat to its habitat.

What Happens Next after Hurricane Ian?

Storms like Hurricane Ian show us the importance of maintaining our ecosystem. For example, coral reefs are critical as they create a barrier for oncoming waves, which protects low-lying residential communities. Learn more about coral’s role in an ecosystem in an upcoming episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild.

Remember, just as humans persevere through a storm, wildlife will also recover.

More tips on how to care for animals during a storm: What to Do If You Find an Injured Animal

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