Your days start and end with sensory feelings and all of your decisions, voluntary and involuntary, are governed by your sense and feelings. However, how many take the time out to wonder if plants and animals have feelings too? We are surrounded by them, and yet we fail to recognize that both plants and animals also have sensory feelings.
Here are a few examples to show that plants and animals have the ability to feel and they, too, use this sense constantly, just like you do.
Plants can sense things
Just like you use your senses to judge your environment, such as checking for cold or rain, plants are also able to judge their environment and react accordingly. For example, let’s take two plants of the same kind. If one of the trees is planted in an area with abundant sunlight and the other is planted in a shaded area with all other factors constant, the latter will grow and even bend in the direction of the sunlight, as opposed to the other tree, which does not need to change its shape owing to easy access to sunlight. Dr. Kim Johnson, from the School of BioSciences, the University of Melbourne, stated: “Plants are constantly under environmental stresses. You can actually see how plants respond to those physical stresses because they change their shape.”
Plants can sense and feel weather cycles, even the forthcoming ones, and begin the process of shedding their leaves automatically. A great example of the plant’s ability to sense environmental patterns is the sunflower. A sunflower bud is able to anticipate dawn without the need to check the time or “look” at the sky. At sunrise, the sunflower bud faces East and at sunset, it’s facing West. Experiments also suggest that the sunflower bud is able to correct its movement if moved, and is able to bring itself back to the East to West motion, albeit after some time.
Plants can also sense touch, and the carnivorous plant the Venus Flytrap is a great example. When a small insect sits on its leaves, the leaves automatically close, trapping the insect inside. This feature is specially adapted in this plant as it is a carnivorous species. However, it shows that even without sight, the plant is able to capture its prey simply because of its awareness of touch. This same ability to sense touch is present in other plant species, as they too can grow around obstructions and change their course or shape accordingly.
Animals have feelings
Determining whether animals have feelings and senses is easier compared to plants simply because it’s more visible. Animals have expressive eyes and are also able to communicate by making noises that reflect their moods and anxiety. Additionally, there are multiple examples of animals expressing their feelings.
Karma, the cow, was rescued by the The Gentle Barn in 2008 from a very abusive setting. However, even after being rescued, she continued to be agitated and upset with her surroundings. She was even trying to escape her new shelter. After further inspection, her rescuers at the Gentle Barn realized that during the rescue, she had been separated from her calf. As she was reunited with her baby, the rescuers captured the moment showing just how strong, and similar to us, a cow’s maternal bond can be.
Watch the following video about Karma the cow:
Another great example of animals’ feelings is their sense of friendship, which is surprisingly beyond species. A goat and a burro, Mr. G and Jellybean, had become the best of friends even while living under a negligent owner. However, in the course of their rescue, the two were separated. Mr. G, the goat, was taken over to the Animal Place. At the Animal Place, Mr. G was continuously depressed, sad, and even refused to eat or engage with the people and other animals there. Finally, Animal Place decided to reunite the two and the reunion is a beautiful story about how friendship between animals is just as important as it is to us.
Watch the following video about Mr. G and Jellybean: