Throughout history and into the 21st century, there have been reports of animals behaving weirdly before a natural calamity strikes. Among domestic animals, reports of hens not laying eggs, cows not giving milk, or bees abandoning hives days, hours and even minutes before tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and more recently tsunamis is spotted.
Flamingos that breed at the Point Calimere wildlife sanctuary in India, abandoned their low-lying breeding areas and flew to higher ground before the tsunami that hit the Sri Lankan and Indian coastlines in December 2004.
The massive tsunami was triggered by a magnitude 9 temblor off the coast of northern Sumatra island on December 26. The giant waves rolled through the Indian Ocean, killing more than 150,000 people in a dozen countries.
A person who lived on the coast near Galle, Sri Lanka, reported that his two dogs refused to go for their daily run on the beach.
Along India’s Cuddalore coast, where thousands perished in the 2004 Tsunami, the Indo-Asian News service reported that buffaloes, goats and dogs were found unharmed.
On Sumatra, elephants giving rides to tourists began trumpeting around the time the earthquake struck, according to their mahout. “I was surprised – the elephants had never cried before,” said Dang Salangam, who runs an eight-elephant business on Khao Lak beach. “They didn’t believe the mahouts, just kept running for the hill,” said Wit Aniwat, who works with the elephants.
Three quarters of elephant language is infrasonic- which means it is too deep for us to understand. The sounds are at such a low pitch that humans a few tens of metres away find them difficult to hear.
Countless pet owners have claimed to have witnessed their cats and dogs acting strangely before the ground shook during earthquakes—barking or whining for no apparent reason, or showing signs of nervousness and restlessness.
4. Underground animals- rats and weasels
The earliest documented case of unusual animal behaviour prior to an earthquake is recorded by the Roman historian Aelian in 373 B.C.; five days before an earthquake destroyed the city of Helike (once located at the coast of the Corinthian Gulf) various animals, like rats, weasels, snakes, centipedes and bugs supposedly emerged from the underground and fled from the city.
Have you ever noticed that bees are nowhere in sight before it rains? They sense moisture changes in the atmosphere, causing them to take shelter in their hives before downpours begin. They can also sense changes in air pressure. Also, the hair on the bees’ backs are sensitive and are affected by electrostatic buildups in weather clouds.
In 2004, a tsunami hit southeast Asia and killed more than 200,000 people… but almost no wild animals. Dogs, elephants, antelopes, bats and even flamingos fled the scene before the wave hit. Bats and insects discern ultra-sounds that are inaudible to humans.
Scientists say that serpents can sense earthquakes from 120 km away, up to five days before it happens. By observing erratic behaviour in snakes, scientists are developing ways to predict earthquakes. They respond erratically, even smashing into walls to escape. Even in the cold of winter, they will move out of their nests before a natural disaster occurs.
Normally placid horses stomp, neigh incessantly, buck, and roll on the ground with approaching inclement weather and earthquakes. The larger the herd, the more the horses restlessly circle and group in fear, in forewarning of these weather and geological activities.
Before the magnitude 9 earthquake in Japan, cows showed lowered milk production six days before it occurred. The decrease in milk yield continued for another four days.