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Animal and Nature Behaviors as Indicator of Disasters.

Updated on September 23, 2013

People have made interactions with animals for ages, there are many aspects of animal lives from which we learn much. One of the phenomena that we don't know much is that animals have senses and make them have surprising ability in predicting natural disasters which effectively help them survive. The huge tsunami in December 2004 which hit some countries in Asian regionsĀ  made scientists look deeper into the mystery.

Animals have senses which are much better than human in sensing vibrations, atmospheric pressure, and electromagnetic changes in nature which sharpen their instincts and help them foresee the menacing disasters.

Knowing some signals of disastrous incidents in nature is very crucial. Those signals may be given by animal behaviors, other elements of nature or environment around us, although some of those signals are still debatable if they're correlated with any particular incident.To get more accurate predictions, qualitative/measurable observations must also be taken into consideration besides using those natural indicator basis.

Here are some pointers given by nature in identifying natural disasters. I present this information based on some sources including from some vulcanoes eruptions took place in Indonesia.

Volcano eruption.
Volcano eruption.

Some Signals Prior to Volcano Eruptions.

1. Earthquakes which hit an area may be indications of volcanic activities in the area, so be on alert when there are preceding tremors around the volcano which possibly leads to its eruption.

2. Many animals go down and away from the mountain. The first group of animals going down are normally birds, then followed respectively by monkeys, tigers, and porcupines. The evacuating porcupines from the mountain is considered the final natural warning for people to abandon the area .

3. Along with rising temperature around the volcano, supply of surface water will diminish which makes the soil dryer than usual.

4. Increasing temperature around the volcano. The raising temperature caused by lava. The nearer the lava to the crater surface means the hotter the temperature felt at the mountain's surrounding areas.

5. Plants become severely suffer from drought, be withered and die.

6. Volcano dust falls before, during and after eruptions.

an earthquake cloud believed to appear prior to earthquake in Yogjakarta in 2006.
an earthquake cloud believed to appear prior to earthquake in Yogjakarta in 2006.

Some Signals Prior to Earthquake

. The presence of earthquake clouds in the sky. It's still debatable about it, but many people witnessed the presence of earthquake clouds one or two weeks prior to earthquakes which happened in some places in the world, these clouds make forms looking like tree trunks or axes in the sky.

1. Ground water subsides due to lowering water rate at its source.

2. Check for some electromagnetic interferences at home which cause the following effects :

- TV reception interrupted and blurred .

- Facsimile lamp blinks despite no incoming/receiving document. Received document also looks disarrayed due to the interference.

- Switch off the power source of a TL lamp at home, electromagnetic interference may hold the lamp on although with dimming light.

3. The disappearance of wild animals from their normal living areas. The ability to sense electromagnetic waves in far distance make animals flee their habitats to safer places. It also happened when earthquake struck Aceh in 2004 which killed around 150,000 people and 30,000 people perished in Sri Lanka but only few animals found dead.

Common toad (Bufo bufo)
Common toad (Bufo bufo)

There was an interesting result from a study by Dr. Rachel Grant at San Rufinno lake, Italy, which is located 76 km away from L'Aquila city where an earthquake jolted it in 6 April 2009. She reported that 5 days before the earthquake 96% of male common toads (Bufo bufo) around San Rufinno lake disappeared, and 3 days before and during the earthquake struck the frog population at the area dropped to zero.

She believes the toads fled to higher ground, possibly for safer places from rock falls, landslides and flooding.

4. Sun eclipse and moon eclipse. Although in some areas where earthquake struck were preceded by the occurrence of sun or moon eclipses but experts find no significant correlation between eclipses and earth quakes.

the Moon, sun and earth are located in a one-line formation when an eclipse takes place. This formation will bring stronger gravitational force to the earth so that rougher or tidal waves in the sea are more likely to happen.

Some signals Prior to Tsunami.

1. Earthquake. Tsunami takes place some minutes after strong earthquake (normally above 6.2 Richter scale) which the epicenter is in the sea near the coast.

Pay attention to Tsunami early warning system or to local announcement on the possibility of tsunami occurrence after such earthquakes. Some noticeable conditions before tsunami reaches the coast are :

Colder sea breeze mixed with sea water particles.

Water at coast lines subsides suddenly, sometimes with fish and other sea creatures trapped on shallow waters and can be easily caught. Don't be tempted to catch them, but immediately leave the area and get higher and safer places away from the beach. Not long after residing sea water, thundering huge waves will follow approaching the coast lines.

2. Also be sensitive to abnormal animal behaviors.

Your dogs behave unusually erratic like barking and biting more intensively, then many of them go hiding for protection.

Snakes and insects suddenly appear and flee their nests. A large flock of antelopes fled coastal areas in India toward nearest hills before tsunami blast in December 2004, and according to some eyewitnesses elephants were trumpeting, broke their chains in order to run away to higher lands.

Another strange thing when animals at Malaysian zoo refused to go out but hid in their shelters instead before tsunami in 2004 which also impacted the country severely.

Besides in North Korea, one of the authorities where the use of elephants as natural early warning system is going to be implemented is Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra. The local government said they would do this program after learning from big earthquake and tsunami which happened in 2004. Animals including elephants managed to survive and only very few found dead after this massive natural disaster which the impacts also reached some countries in the region.


It's reiterated that nature and animal behaviors when referred as signals of natural disasters, must be taken as supporting information in addition to scientific, qualitative/measurable data in predicting those disasters.


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    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      @Precy anza:

      I'm sorry for this late response. Thank you for reading and your comments. You're right, nature elements like elephant has sensitivity before a disaster takes place which also benefits our survival.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      You have really good information here :) Reminds me of a tv episode about disasters, and hero animals. I can't forget this young elephant who had saved a tourist, a young girl who had befriended the animal. I also had heard from my dad and my grandma about telling coming disasters by watching animals, and they are interesting.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

      @Happyboomernurse: Thank you very much for your kindness.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I believe you are correct about how animals can sense atmospheric and other dangers better than we humans can. We can learn much from watching their behavior and picking up on cues from them. Thanks for this informative hub. Votes up and will tweet this.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Fascinating, well written hub. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes,animals have sensitivity in detecting upcoming disasters that's why there were less dead wild animals found than human in aftermath of earthquakes in Mt. Merapi, 2010 and Tsunami in Aceh in 2004. Thank you very much for your comments Mulberry1.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 7 years ago

      Interesting and useful topic! Animals do have better senses and perceptions of some things. We on the other hand, have to put many years and a lot of money in to trying to develop tools to sense or monitor these things.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      I'm glad that it's useful and your teacher likes it. Thank you so much.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 7 years ago

      I shared this with the science teacher at my school. She loved it! Thanks!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you very much for reading this hub, Sally.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 7 years ago

      Good information! Mother nature knows!


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