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Seismic Sentries Animal Disaster Predictions

This page is dedicated to seismic sentries--animals predicting disasters. Guerrero is an expert in animal disaster preparedness and has worked animal rescue during floods, a hurricane, worked in and survived earthquakes, and the fires in the San Bernardino mountains.

Animal Expert Radio Comments:
Seismic Sentries Animal Disaster Predictions

Can you respond to reports that few animals been found dead in the tsunami?
"Animals appear to exhibit an awareness of impending disaster. Changes are common in both wild and domestic animals prior to seismic activity. So I would suspect that animals vacated the area prior to the tsunami based on their survival instincts. However, the lack of reports of animal casualties does not mean there are not animal victims."

Do animals have a sixth sense?
"Anecdotal accounts seem to indicate that they do appear to. A more common example would be the survival response in groups of animals in regard to predators-they avoid the hunters and ignore those that are not on the prowl. I would hypothesize that the same adaptations relate to geological and related threats."

What are some of the different behaviors animal exhibit?
The rule of thumb is to watch for any behavior that is abnormal for YOUR animal.

Behavior changes appear to be more common in rural and wild animals. I suspect this is because the more desensitized (exposed) the animal is to various conditions and noises--the less the animal seems to react. Signs are present most commonly between 24 to 48 hours prior to earth activity, but I've seen changes 30 days in advance.

The following are excerpts from Guerrero's animal disaster preparedness booklet:

WILD ANIMALS: Animals vacate areas, gather in groups, or enter into human habitated areas prior to incidents. Wild animals that normally avoid humans will come in close contact with them, sometimes entering into dwellings or barns; Fishing improves in the local area. Zoo and oceanarium animals will try to escape, refuse to be confined and more! Remember, behavioral changes can occur for a variety of other reasons.

CATS: Cats will be jumpy. You may see warning signs such as hiding, running
around frantically trying to escape to the outside, hanging on screens and meowing, or behavior unusual for your pet. Many times they will be aggressive, or will want to stick close to or be on top of you. Pacing, hissing, or growling can also be symptoms. Most cats will hide, so check their favorite hiding places and behind cupboards, refrigerators, sofas, beds, in closets, in the backs of washers and dryers, and on top of cupboards, shelves and behind the water heater. Check small spaces in the backs of any appliance since they will often seek out dark and small areas.

DOGS: Dogs will usually not hide. Behavior exhibited before quake activity
includes howling, whining, barking, restlessness, aggression, and increased devotion to owners. They will usually run around, and can bolt through gates, windows, or doors, or stick to you like glue. Some dogs will become more protective or aggressive while others will be fearful or act dejected. Pay attention to their personalities and individual needs and you will be able to avoid trouble. Drastic differences in the number of advertised lost dogs and the animal shelter loads can precede quake activity in a specific area. Large increases in these numbers could give you a clue to up coming earth activity.

HORSES AND LIVESTOCK: Hoofed animals often refuse to enter their barns or pens and often refuse to tie. They tend to group together in open areas, act nervous, or pace.

OTHER ANIMALS: Caged birds will often hang on their cage, sometimes they
will flap frantically, or they can be abnormally quiet. Breeding birds will often
abandon their eggs or discard them from the nest. Other animals will exhibit
abnormal behavior. Some of the unusual changes are that;
Hibernating animals will emerge early (snakes , bears, etc.); Spiders and ants will move indoors; Rodents will invade the house or if they are in residence will disappear; Wild birds become quiet or are not visible;

Remember these are only clues that something may be wrong.

Do you know of research being done on this topic?
Yes, there are a few investigative works in progress some by independent scientists and some academic institutions. These include the California Institute of Technology (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences PDF), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University. There are also individuals in California and Hawaii exploring the topic. Animal Planet also just filmed a piece tentatively titled, "When Animals Talk."

Is there any reason to think we could use animals as a way to alert to natural disasters?
Yes, I believe they can be used as indicators and they have been in the past. However the technique for identifying precursory behavior would have to be refined.

Earlier this year the Washington Times reported that the Chinese will again use animals as seismic sentries. There is also a geologist in Northern California who collects reports of unusual animal behavior in an attempt to correlate behavior changes to seismic activity.

Disaster News

Emergency Email & Wireless Network

The Salvation Army

American Red Cross

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Expert comments about earth changes from 9.0 earthquake:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Read about warning systems and tsunamis:

Contact numbers if you have family or friends in devastated areas of Asia

Find out how you can help:

World Society for the Protection of Animals


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Guerrero Ink: Freelance Animal Writer

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