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July 5, 2015

Can pets or other animals sense cicadas below ground?

Filed under: FAQs — Dan @ 8:51 am

Can pets, including dogs and cats, or other animals sense cicadas below ground? Yes they can. Animals have a better sense of hearing than humans, and they are able to sense the subtle sounds of cicadas tunneling underground.

You might discover animals, including your pet dog, digging up your lawn in advance of a periodical cicada emergence. That is because they can sense the cicadas preparing for the day they will emerge.


  1. Jeannie says:

    My dog has rubbed her nose raw. She spends hours outside with her nose to the ground. The cicadas are due in a few weeks. I think she hears or smells them. She didn’t do this last spring.

  2. Julian Blackwood says:

    Which animals are known to root for underground cicadas? I have photos of substantial lawn damage which has not happened before. How can I post a photo?

    1. Dan says:

      Moles, voles, dogs.

  3. Kevin Freeberg says:

    Will it hurt my dogs if they eat cicadas?

    1. Dan says:

      @Kevin, I have an article about that. Dogs certainly love to eat cicada, and generally speaking, they’re a protein-filled snack.

      That said, here’s what to be cautious of 1) their wings and ovipositors are rigid, and may cause choking & maybe bowel obstructions, 2) gorging on cicadas could make them sick, 3) cicadas sprayed with pesticides could make them sick, and 4) 17-year cicadas are known to accumulate mercury, like tuna.

      The only bad story I heard of was of a dog that died after consuming cicadas that had been sprayed with pesticide.

  4. david emery says:

    Our birds are VERY astute in this respect! but most cicadas are too far underground

Leave a comment. Questions about plants or snakes are deleted.

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