Human beings have five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
When it comes to some animals, the list of senses is much longer.
Certain animals have a sixth sense, and no, we don’t mean perception of the paranormal by sixth sense. We mean senses like magnetoreception, echolocation, and so on.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 animals with a sixth sense:
All sea turtles have an amazing geomagnetic ability. This means they are great at locating themselves in the ocean and can find their way back to where they have laid their eggs on the surface. Sea turtles also know exactly when to migrate and how to find their way back. The leatherback sea turtles have a pineal gland on their heads that allows them to sense the seasons from deep in the ocean.
Like bats, dolphins also use echolocation to get a three-dimensional view of their surroundings. Ultrasound waves travel better in water than through the air, which means that dolphins can get a sense of their location in the ocean based entirely on sound and do not need light to see. To get a better idea of how echolocation works, imagine that a dolphin has a built-in sonar device.
Spiders have a special sense of judging things’ weight, size, and movement in their vicinity. This is because they have unique organs called slit sensilla which are mechanoreceptors. These receptors help spiders sense even the tiniest strain on their exoskeleton and make them aware of any movement nearby.
We know that the Earth has a magnetic field because we learned about it in school. But can you imagine what it would be like if we could actually feel that magnetic field? Well, pigeons can! Pigeons have a sixth sense called magnetoreception which helps them travel many miles and navigate their way with the help of the Earth’s magnetic field. This is why pigeons can be trained as homing pigeons.
Sharks have the amazing ability of electroreception. This means they can detect electrical fields, which helps them sense prey from far distances. Whenever a fish or any other prey moves, their muscle contractions create electrical charges which the shark can sense.
The comb jellyfish don’t have eyes, but that doesn’t stop them from seeing. These jellyfish have been around for millions of years and developed into multi-celled organisms without eyes, arms, or a central nervous system. So then, how do they see? The answer is special balance receptors called statocysts. These receptors help the jellyfish stay upright and navigate ocean currents to travel hundreds of miles.
The platypus also has a great sense of electroreception, like sharks. They can easily find prey in shallow waters and thick mud. The platypus bill contains over 40,000 electroreceptors and swinging the bill from side to side allows the platypus to enhance the effectiveness of the electroreception.
These incredible snakes get their name from their special sixth sense. The pit viper has a pit between its eyes and nose with a heat-sensing organ. Because of this organ, the viper can see infrared rays, meaning that it can see heat sources. This makes the viper an incredible hunter as it can see its prey even in complete darkness.
Bats are truly incredible with how they can fly at high speeds in the night and find small prey. They can do this using echolocation. Echolocation is using sound waves to find the location of objects. The bat’s larynx generates ultrasound waves that come out through its mouth and nose. The waves bounce off objects and are reflected back at the bat, allowing it to locate prey even in the dark.
Pistol shrimp are tiny, just a few centimeters long, but can make very loud high-frequency shock waves. The pistol shrimp has a special oversized claw that is pistol-like. When it snaps its claw, it emits a strong wave of bubbles that instantly kills its prey. The shockwave is so powerful that it can break glass, and when these shrimps live in colonies, their shock waves can entirely disrupt underwater communication and sonar.
We’re completely amazed at all the incredible sixth senses some animals have. Doesn’t it make you wonder at how amazing all of these creatures are and how much we still don’t know about many species? Which of these animals with a sixth sense did you think was the coolest?