Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do animals, humans and plants dislike rain?

Recently, I read that all birds look for cover during heavy rain, except for wood-pigeons (eg, 2014 blog, Quora, source). As a result, these pigeons may die from hypothermia. It’s not only birds but also humans and plants. Hence, this Naked Scientists question: Why do animals (and humans) dislike getting wet?

I once read that plants panic as they fear the impact of viruses that come with heavy rainfall (eg, EarthSky-2019, PNAS-2019, SciNews-2019, and NewScientist-2023). It could well be argued that hypothermia is (ultimately) caused by bacteria and/or viruses. Hence, a similar explanation.

“Plants need water to grow. But too much water isn’t good for them either. Scientists have found that excessive rain and high humidity levels allow disease-causing bacteria to attack plants by creating a moist environment that makes them more susceptible to bacterial infections. When conditions are right, plants can be infected with bacteria, viruses, and fungi.”

A quote from the 2022 Science Connected Magazine article Plant Bacteria Thrive in Wet Weather

For the same reason, animals, humans and plants do not mind a little rain on a sunny day (see song below). The rainfall provides cleaning (eg, feathers, skin) and afterwards the sun will warm us again. Hence, you will notice that birds flap their feathers in a waterpool, while humans are swimming.

Nevertheless, all humans tend to be afraid of deep water (eg, drowning, hypothermia). Sometimes, this fear turns into aquaphobia or thalassophobia. Usually, learning to swim overcomes this fear.

In general, African people genuinely fear to swim. The same applies to African Americans (eg Medium-2022). The blog Why Africans Don’t Swim gives several explanations: “parasites like bilharzia” and “crocodiles and hippos”. Weil’s disease, caused by brown rats, was once common in Dutch canals.

It’s intriguing that water is associated with life, is also responsible for spreading bacteria & viruses, which are commonly associated with disease and death (ie, dualism). However, biologists claim that bacteria & viruses are also responsible for the evolution of species (ie, my 2015 blog, trialism).

“A recent study has revealed that when plants are exposed to rain, hair-like structures on the leaf surface called trichomes recognize this rain as a risk factor for causing disease and activate their immune system to prevent infections. These findings could contribute to the development of methods to protect plants from infectious diseases caused by rain.”

Summary of 2022 study by Nagoya University, entitled: How plants activate their immune system against pathogens in rain

Have You Ever Seen The Rain (1971) by Creedence Clearwater Revival
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

[Chorus]
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
Comin’ down on a sunny day

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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