Animals sense earthquake before humans
Aug 25, 2011
Seconds before the 5.9 earthquake shook much of the East coast on Tuesday, zookeepers noticed strange behavior in their animals, leading them to think that they knew the quake was coming before humans could feel it, the Washington Post reports.
Workers at the National Zoo reported that orangutans, gorillas, flamingos and red-ruffed lemurs acted uncharacteristically strange within seconds of the earthquake. Now, many are wondering what the animals knew, and when they knew it, the news source reports.
"Animals seem to know," said primate keeper K.C. Braesch, who watched as the usually cool and collected orangutan, Iris, screeched seconds before she and other zookeepers felt the vibration.
Many Maryland residents reported that their pets - cats, dogs and birds - began acting strangely minutes before the earthquake was felt in the area. Some barked or whined, while others hid or insisted they go outside, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Inconclusive scientific reports have suggested that animals sense mysterious electromagnetic fields generated by faults, while others have speculated about sounds, smells and subtle earth tilting that animals can feel while humans can't. Other experts conclude that animals are simply more in tune with nature than humans are.