How Animals React to Earthquakes.

It always interested me in how some animals could “sense” when a natural disaster such as an earthquake, was about to hit.

Just a couple of days ago-the United States had a big (5.8) earthquake in Virginia. The Smithsonian National Zoo released some information about how their animals acted before, during and after the quake hit. Pretty interesttinnnggg stuff!

GIANT PANDAS: Nothing. (Guess they were too dazed from eating bamboo all day.)

SNAKES: They began to twist and squirm when the quake hit, when they usually are inactive during the day time. (I’d probably do the same if I work a snake and the floor started moving!)

FLAMINGOS: A flock of 64 flamingos- right before the quake- rushed and immediately huddled closely together. (Birds of a feather flock terms of earthquakes I suppose this saying is true as well!)

The only flamingo picture I could find in my collection-Mazatlan Mexico!

BEAVERS: They found their safety in the water during the quake- so did the ducks in their exhibit. (Maybe it feels like a mini-whirlpool bathtub?)

RED RUFFED LEMURS: They sent out an alarm call 15 minutes before the quake hit- then re-alarmed just after the quake finished!

BLACK-AND-RUFOUR GIANT ELEPHANT SHREW: Poor little fella hid in his habitat all day long after the quake and refused to come out for dinner. (I wonder if he told the quake to “shrew you!”…

GREAT APES: 5-10 seconds before the quake- many of the apes including a Western lowland gorilla and an orangutan- abandoned their breakfast and went to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit.

**3 seconds before the quake- a gorilla let out a shriek and grabbed her baby- and joined their fellow apes at the top of the tree-like structure.

***An orangutan began “belch vocalizing”- a noise usually reserved for extreme irritation- before, during, and after the quake.

But if you ask a geologist- they will do nothing but dismiss these sort of “animal hazard prediction” claim.  They claim it’s “the psychological focusing effect,” where people remember strange behaviors only after an earthquake or other catastrophe has taken place. If nothing had happened (like a huge earthquake), they contend, people would not have remembered the strange behavior.

So you be the judge- do you think animals can “sense” natural disasters before they happen???


  1. Animals are very close to nature, they see things and feel things that we normally wouldn’t. They are so sensitive to nature that they can even sense a storm coming (a cat for example). Somehow there’s a connection, it’s really quite amazing 🙂

    A geologist wouldn’t have any idea about the psychology of a animal so they can’t really say much about it can they? 🙂

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