We all know (okay some of us know) that geologists, seismologist and meteorologist have access to all sorts of technology that help them gauge when a potential natural disaster may strike.  But did you know that animals may have a leg up on them (no pun intended)? 

Animals have a much greater sense when it comes to natural disasters then humans.  Maybe this hypersensitivity is because they are lower to the ground?  Perhaps.  Maybe they have a keener sense of hearing variations can hear sounds produced by natural phenomena, including earthquakes, volcanoes, and storms?  Could be.   Maybe they can smell a storm due to their sensitivities to electromagnetic field?  Um-yeah I guess.  Or just maybe they have a sixth sense??    tornado

Whatever the reason, past observations have shown that animals intuitively know when something is not right and can actually give us warnings ahead of time.  For some reason, they begin to act strange.  Like for instance, before an earthquake some dogs will stop barking (what other time does that happen right??? ), and both dogs and cats have been known to hide and in fact animal shelters have reported an increase of found animals up to two weeks before an earthquake.  Even horses get noisy and restless.    

As for ground-dwellers?  Earthworms, snakes and rats get into the act too when the rumbling begins deep down in the earth’s crust and flee the low-ground for the hills. 

And Insects such as butterflies will wedged themselves under rocks and disappeared into tree hollows

Also heading for the hills, if you recall the tsunami of December 2004 in Sri Lanka (and parts of Southeast Asia and East Africa) – hundreds of elephants, leopards, tigers, wild boar, deer, water buffalo, monkeys and smaller mammals and reptiles - all escaped unscathed after seeking higher ground before hand – whereas 280,000 unsuspecting people were killed.

Even sharks react to hurricanes by swimming out to the deeper open sea. 

Now I don’t have a pet shark so I really can’t say what they’d do.  And for that matter, neither do I have a pet elephant, leopard, tiger, wild boar, deer, water buffalo, or monkey.  But I do have a cat.  And he will do the “military crawl” to the closest dark place when he senses a thunder-storm or a major rainstorm is about to hit.  Even before the first thunder clap or rain drop hits.  How?  I don’t know.  But it happens even if I’m not aware a storm is coming – that is - until I hear the thunder or rain.

So, how is it animals are alert to disasters?  Well there are a couple of theories floating around.  One is that they can sense the earth’s vibrations and the other is they can detect changes in the air pressure.  Hey, maybe it’s a combination of smell, vibrations, and pressure?

Of course as with all science, the jury is still out.  There has been no conclusive research that can confirm or deny that animals can predict natural disasters.  But just maybe, could it be that the window of opportunity needed to conduct such a controlled study of all animals under one roof has come and gone with the landing of Noah’s ark after his natural disaster?

All I can say is … “Where is that darn cat?” “Here kitty-kitty.”

- Survivor Jane





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