Where do the animals go during a hurricane?

Samantha Chaney

Some animals leave during hurricanes. Photo by Alex Morman

Just over two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma blew through Florida, resulting in the cancellation of classes and evacuation of students on campus. But where do the animals on campus go during a hurricane?

Dr. Quincy Gibson, a biology professor at UNF, who teaches the Animal Behavior class, gave some insight to this question.

“With birds, some species are thought to stay put and do their best to stay protected in some type of shelter. Other species are thought to leave the area prior to the storm and return after conditions have returned to normal,” Gibson said.

Some animals stick the storm out. Photo by Alex Morman

In some instances, certain wildlife can be temporarily displaced. Sometimes after a hurricane, animal shelters experience a greater influx of baby squirrels who have been blown from their nests. Other animals who make home in or on the ground, such as snakes, are at greater risk of drowning or losing their food source during flooding.

However, our ability to be certain of where the animals on campus go is hindered by the dangerous nature of the storms.

“We simply don’t know what the animals are doing because we aren’t out there observing them during a hurricane,” said Gibson.


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