Animal Senses

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

As humans, we get by with five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. They work well for us, but other animals have developed many other strange and wonderful ways to find their way around.

  • Some dolphins, whales, and bats navigate and track prey using echo location. This is a very advanced form of hearing that allows them to “see” their surroundings by listening to and analyzing the way sound reflects off objects in their environment.
  • Many fish sense their surroundings with a lateral line system, which detects changes in water pressure. This allows them to feel the movement of other animals in the water nearby.
  • Snakes use a special apparatus called Jacobsen's organ to smell. The snake's forked tongue collects chemicals from the air, which it pulls in and holds against the organ, located in the roof of its mouth.
  • Sharks, and some other fish are sensitive to the electric fields generated by other animals in the water. They use this information to track prey. Weak electric currents are sometimes used to repel sharks.
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