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Can Animals Predict Natural Disasters - The Connection Between Nature and Animals

Updated on May 2, 2013

Can Science Do a Better Job of Predicting Natural Disasters than Animals?

Do animals have a sixth sense to be able to predict earthquakes?

Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides, forest fires, storms, and the list goes on. These are the natural disasters that make headlines too often in a year. Very often, it comes without sufficient warning. We are left powerless to protect ourselves against the violent, swift and arbitrary stamp that nature leaves in its destructive path.

With little that we can do in the battle with nature’s fury, we look to science to assist us in predicting anything that will offer us some shield against the torments we face from weather, and other planetary events. We view ourselves as the smarter species. We have technological advancements and scientific studies that help us understand what is happening. Yet, when you read stories like the Tsunami in 2004 in Thailand and learn that every animal that was free to move on their own, escaped the tsunami unscathed. According to the human death toll was nearly 228,000, many of whom were swept away from the tsunami waves.

Animals Have Been Known to Sense Natural Disasters

Wild and domestic animals can sense impending natural changes in the environment
Wild and domestic animals can sense impending natural changes in the environment | Source

Animals May Be a Good Forecaster of Events that Happen in Nature

Did the animals know beforehand? Do they have a sixth sense? Are they just more in tune with nature, than we are?  When we look to science for the explanation, they can’t give an answer because they don’t have empirical studies (observable, and specifically measured studies, done with a large enough population, that prove their hypothesis).  Science creates inventions to measure patterns that would help predict the natural occurring event. And there has been considerable progress when it comes to tornadoes, hurricanes, and even tsunami currents.  Science shys away from using animals to help predict what may happen next.  Scientists can’t predict most of what nature is about to do, but it does appear that animals may be good forecasters afterall.  

Earthquake Research receives only $50 million in Funding

A retired geologist  name Jim Berkland uses his knowledge about the planetary affects from the tides, moon phases, and gravitational pull may set off a fault that may be primed to shift.  He has a 75% success rate since 1980 of predicting major earthquakes.  Oh, by the way, he uses the lost dogs and cats  ads as a major part of his prediction. He has noticed that within a week or so prior to an earthquake, there will be a very significant increase in the number of dogs and cats that have run away from their homes.  He compares the average number of ads each day, and when he notices an increase, he believes there will be an earthquake. Berkland believes that the changes in the Earth, may make some pets more nervous  leading to more runaway dogs and cats.  Other geologists do not necessarily agree with Berkland’s hypothesis. The Chinese looked into this in the 1970’s, and had some success and some failures. A major earthquake hit China in 1975 and were able to evacuate Haicheng, the city that was affected hours before the tremors began.  But in 1976, The Tangshan earthquake killed 242,000 plus, and the animals did not predict it.  China has been studying animal behavior and natural events in order to help predict such things as earthquakes.

Berkland believes that animals may be reacting to an imbalance in Earth’s magnetic field that occurs from the pre seismic activity. Berkland believes all animals have ties to Earth’s magnetic field.  Even NASA believes that electromagnetic waves can be generated from the stresses in Earth’s rock.  This phenomenon is known as the piezoelectric effect.   Other geologists feel that these theories  may have too small an effect to be able to prove that animals can predict earthquakes. The science community has noticed that Berkland has many false alarms too. Earthquake programs get less than $50 million in funding, which is 1/10th of what an individual space shuttle mission gets.   Geologists are hesitant to spend their limited funds on testing the animal alarm theory.

A Geologist Can Predict Earthquakes With Animals

Animals Have Been Observed Behaving Oddly Before Nature Strikes

Going as far back to the ancient Greeks in the era of B.C., animals have been noted to anticipate natural disasters.  In 373 B.C. a Greek historian named Thucydides recorded dogs, weasels, centipedes, snakes, and rats in large numbers escaped the city of Helike (Eliki). Within a few days an earthquake struck the city and it sank to the depths of the ocean.   In Tokyo in 1923, catfish were seen jumping out of the water shortly before a big quake hit Japan that year. It is believed that the catfish might pick up tiny changes in the electrical currents.
Many people have witnessed their pets behaving oddly before earthquakes. Prior to the earthquake in Sichuan China in 2008, zoo animals were acting unusual.  Some species like dogs can hear sound frequencies that may be related to the shifting of the earth.  Hippos can sense low frequency sound waves also.  Elephants and other animals might pick up the rumblings from the ground before they turn into a full force earthquake.

Scientists believe earthquakes are unpredictable and animals can’t predict earthquakes with any accuracy. There is the mind of the scientist and there is the mind of the animal lover.   Scientists need proof, animal lovers trust the instinctive nature of animals.

Animals and Predicting Nature

Do you think animals can be a reliable source of predicting impending natural disasters?

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Farm Animals Can Sense Storms Approaching

Farm animals behave differently before storms approach
Farm animals behave differently before storms approach | Source

Geologists Believe Many Animal Theories are Myths

In March 2010, The Journal of Zoology discussed 2 behavioral biologists, Rachel Grant and Tim Halliday who can document that animals have the ability to predict foreboding danger from nature. In Italy, April 2009, there were a large number of toads who left their breeding area 5 days prior to a 6.8 magnitude earthquake. They don’t understand yet how the toads may have known of the impending danger, but they have come up with a way of studying this further. Grant and Halliday had documented proof that the weather was not a factor in the frogs sudden disappearance. Temperature, wind, rain, and humidity were all within normal ranges.  It is believed the toad picked up signals from the environment, but the U.S. Geological Survey believes this to be a myth, doubt that this behavior could be used to reliably predict future tremors.  Grant and Halliday will keep studying the frogs to see if this phenomenon will be repeated.

Domestic Animals also Sense Nature's Changes

There are many stories of dogs and cats and other household animals' behavior changing
There are many stories of dogs and cats and other household animals' behavior changing | Source

Is it a Sixth Sense or Do They Use Their Five Senses Better than We Do?

Besides predicting earthquakes, on farms, chickens and other animals become nervous before a storm strikes. It is believed that animals probably do not have a sixth sense about meterological or earthquake event. Rather, it is believed, they use their five senses in a superior and more efficient way than human beings use their senses. Most animals can hear better, and they may be more in tune to nature than humans do. Hurricanes, for example produce sound waves at too low a frequency for humans to hear, but in a range, they are able to pick up. This could give the animal warning for an impending storm. Air and water pressures change with altered weather patterns and an animal may sense this difference. Changes in barometric pressures may indicate to the animal to go into a protective mode to seek shelter. It may merely be a survival instinct that allows them to perceive, what we cannot. In tropical storms, it has been noticed that even sharks swim into deeper waters, from a slight drop in the barometric pressure. Birds and insects also pick up the tiniest changes and will find safety in their nests, hives, rocks, etc.

Dog Barking Increased in Japan Prior to Many Earthquakes

A dog’s sense of smell could be as much as 100,000 times better than a person’s. Dogs have been know to be able to smell certain types of cancer in people. It has been said that dogs can smell fear. They may pick up that fear sense from other animals who perceived the impending disaster in a different way, or they may smell chemical changes in the air from the earthquake or other event. Scientists think some animals can see ultraviolet light and other sensations, we may not be aware of.

Some have watched animal behavior before winter arrives. American Indians used to observe where bears went to hibernate to determine the severity of the upcoming winter season. They would look at how deep the bear cave was, and look at the fur on the bear’s paws. Heavy fur would mean a snowier, colder winter.

Going back to several years ago, and prior to the series of events affecting Japan after the earthquake on March 11, 2011, a Japanese doctor, named Kiyoshi Shimamura had noticed an increase in dog bites and other odd dog behavior just prior to major earthquakes in Japan. Not only did dog bites increase, but excessive dog barking increased 18% in the months prior to an earthquake. At the epicenter, there was a 60% increase in dog barking complaints. Scientists refute that the dog barking may be related to seismic events. Animals may see birds fleeing, or unusual sounds or other mammals, and take these cues to mean something is happening. There are no clear answers as to what makes them know, but it is apparent they listen to their instinct. Science does agree that animals are responding to real perceptions from the environment, and do not think it is additional sense that enables them to react to what may be imperceptable to us. Few believe this is a paranormal event.

Animal Stories and the Tsunami in Thailand 2004

In all likely animals are better designed than we are, to pick up the slightest changes to temperature, sound, vibration, electromagnetic fields, atmospheric pressure changes and even chemical activity. This ability to sense these variations gives them a perceptive ability to survive great danger. This may be a highly developed aspects of animals, or it may be a basic primal trait that has enabled the species to survive millions of years.

Shortly before the Dec 26th tsunami in Thailand, about 12 elephants began trumpeting calls from a village 50 miles north of where the tsunami struck. It correlates with the timing of the 9.0 earthquake in the ocean. About an hour prior to the waves reaching shore and causing the massive destruction, elephants again became agitated, and ran for higher, safer ground. Flamingos, and other birds left the area well before the tsunami hit. In the Yala National Park, in Sri Lanka, an area very hard hit by the tsunami, all the wildlife from leopards and tigers, to bore, water buffalo, deer, monkeys, reptiles and elephants escaped to higher ground. No animal big or small was harmed by the tsunami. Witnesses said they saw dogs running to the hill tops way before any human even conceived that a tsunami could be arriving. Bats, which are normally nocturnal were awake and active about 30 minutes prior to the tsunami. People have told stories of their dogs refusing to go for their daily walk on the beach that morning. Monkeys were refusing treats of bananas, all prior to the tsunami.

Perhaps We Need to Stop Our Busy Lives and Listen to Nature

With all the sophisticated technology, we have, with our higher brain capacity, and with our ability to dive below the sea and zoom into space, it leaves the question, what did these animals know, that we did not, or could not perceive? With all the technology we have, scientists are not able to predict earthquakes. It is important to be prepared. We need to consider that animals, from mammals to birds and bugs have abilities we do not. Their senses are superior to us in many ways,and this allows them to perceive things we may not be aware of. Or maybe animals live closer to nature, they live simpler lives and perhaps they are more in tune with nature and themselves and these cues give them survival skills we have lost in our overly technological and busy lifestyles. While science looks for an explanation, the innate survival ability of animals large and small is something we all need to pay more attention to, and learn more about.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Japan and all the people around the globe who have loved ones in Japan. WE ARE ONE WORLD!

You Can Read More About Animals from the List Below the Comments

 To Read More About Animals See the List Below


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