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Animal earthquake predictions

January 21, 2011
clipped from www.guardian.co.uk

Big Nature Count: Common toad

Toads may be able to detect imminent earthquakes, according to scientists. The finding will add to the accounts through the centuries where animals, from dogs to rats, snakes and chickens, are said to have behaved strangely before an earthquake.

There could be several mechanisms for animals to sense the beginnings of an earthquake, wrote Grant in the Journal of Zoology. They could detect seismic waves directly or ground tilt (which can occur in the minutes before a quake). In addition there might be anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Before the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, a disaster that killed more than 6,000 people, he found that accounts of dogs barking “excessively” went up by 18% on average in the months before the earthquake. Above the epicentre on Awaji Island, there was a 60% increase in complaints compared with a year earlier.
fish, rodents and snakes have been anecdotally associated with unusual behaviour more than a week before an earthquake
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