Saturday, October 1, 2011

Can Animals Sense Earthquakes?

Happy Saturday Pet Blogger's Hop!
Whether they hid, huddled or howled, animals at the National Zoo in Washington DC definitely reacted to the recent earthquake (August 23rd). I was fascinated by this article, published by Smithsonian National Zoological Parks.

Moments before the 5.8 earthquake hit, here are is what some zoo staff noticed:

Great Apes:   About five to ten seconds before the quake, many of the apes, including Kyle (an orangutan) and Kojo (a Western lowland gorilla), abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit. About three seconds before the quake, Mandara (a gorilla) let out a shriek and collected her baby, Kibibi, and moved to the top of the tree structure as well.
Iris (an orangutan) began “belch vocalizing”—an unhappy/upset noise normally reserved for extreme irritation—before the quake and continued this vocalization following the quake.

Monkeys: The red ruffed lemurs sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred. The howler monkeys sounded an alarm call just after the earthquake.

Lions:  The lion pride was outside. They all stood still and faced the building, which rattled during the quake. All settled down within minutes.

Flamingos:  Just before the quake, the birds rushed about and grouped themselves together. They remained huddled during the quake.

Giant Pandas: According to keepers, the giant pandas did not appear to respond to the earthquake.

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