Stories are emerging all over China of how animals started behaving peculiarly days and hours before Monday’s deadly earthquake. According to a story filed by the Associated Press, one Chinese province was overrun with toads days before it struck, and hours before the quake in a zoo 600 miles west of the earthquake’s center, zebras began banging their heads against the door of their enclosure; elephants swung their trunks wildly and uncharacteristically in a nearby exhibit; lions were awake at during their normal napping times; and peacocks screeched out in unison as if warning their fellow creatures of an impending disaster.
Slow down, guys. I can’t quite understand you. Are you saying that a volcano’s about to erupt in Chile, a typhoon is about to strike Myanmar, an earthquake will rock China, or a twister’s gonna touchdown in Arkansas?
An old 2003 story in National Geographic explains how animals have long been recorded behaving strangely before natural disasters. Even in 373 B.C. there are…
…accounts of rats, snakes and weasels, fleeing Helice, a city in Greece, days before an earthquake reduced the city to rubble.
Speculating that animals may sense changes in Earth’s magnetic fields that are undetectable to average humans, scientists have conducted a number of experiments on animals with varying results. Other scientists brush off the phenomenon as mere “psychological focusing,” i.e. animals behave this way all the time, but we only notice it when there’s a major disaster afterwards.
Still, it does not take a leap of the mind to imagine that some species of animal may be tuned into frequencies of the Earth that out-of-the-box humans cannot sense. Who knows, maybe some day animals will be widely observed to help us prepare for natural disasters? At least, we might be able to create machines that pick up the same signals that they do.