# Can animals sense earthqukes?

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Yestarday I was reading an article published in the local daily. It was saying that Animals like Cows, Dogs, Pigs and Horses survived from tsunamis and earthquakes.

Do they have sixth sense?

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I have heard many such stories. I tend to think they are true.

Natural Selection dictates that if at any point in the history of the world an animal were to gain an ability to sense something as dangerous as an earth quake, through mutation, it would be more likely for it or its decendants to survive if an earthquake happened in its vicinity and other animals without that ability were wiped out.

Animals have been around for maybe a billion years. I'm sure that in that time such a benifical mutation could have happened.

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Why wouldn't they sense it? It's an earthquake.

Cows are often in fields, where there isn't that many things to bump into or to find oneself underneath, so surviving an earthquake isn't to amazing.

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Yestarday I was reading an article published in the local daily. It was saying that Animals like Cows' date=' Dogs, Pigs and Horses survived from tsunamis and earthquakes.

Do they have sixth sense?[/quote']

Why would they need a sixth sense? Many animals are adept at feeling vibrations, hearing sounds that are out of human range. Also, they are more apt to follow their instincts. A human feeling a vibration in the ground might ignore it, or not realize what it is. An animal would probably hide first and ask questions later.

I would say it's more a matter of animals trusting their 5 senses rather then having a sixth sense.

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Sorry double post, mistake.

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Why wouldn't they sense it? It's an earthquake.

Cows are often in fields' date=' where there isn't that many things to bump into or to find oneself underneath, so surviving an earthquake isn't to amazing.[/quote']

I have often read that animals are sensitive to atmospheric pressure, why couldn't they be sensative to vibrations that might be associated with an earthquake?

Also you may have heard of how submarines can detect other submarines by the way that they effect the geomagnetic energies of the area. Some animals are sensitive to magnetic and electric signals, maybe this could be a cue. After all if a submarine can effect geomagnetc energy, what about a whole techtonic plate?

An animal standing in a feild during an earthquake may be relativly safe, but what about an animal in a cave, or a forest with lots of fresh branches to fall on it. Or near a coast line where tsunamies, tidal waves, or suden drops or rises in the sea levels may happen (even on the rare occasion) would be a threat as well.

I would say it's more a matter of animals trusting their 5 senses rather then having a sixth sense.

Excellent point.

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yes, some of them can, although its not always a 6th sense, but rather an extended range on the existing senses, although some animals do have a 6th sense, some sense electical differences others magnetic.

even Machines can detect them (ELF band) but of course you have to know exactly what youre looking for, therein lies the HARD PART!

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I wonder if alot of these animals generally seek shelter when they hear low frequency sound, as associated with thunderstorms, and this helps them deal with earthquakes by coincidence.

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an Interesting hypothesis!

it`s quite common for house pets to be scared of Fireworks and certain types of air circulation fans, both of which emit subsonic freqs as well the human audible range.

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I have often read that animals are sensitive to atmospheric pressure,
People can also sense changes in pressure, that's why our ears "pop" on areoplanes, AFAIK dogs sense the changes in the same way but as they simply have better ears than us, they sense it a lot more.
some animals do have a 6th sense, some sense electical differences others magnetic.
I knew sharks and quite a few other fish could feel electrical charge. Are there any mammals, or even any large land faring animals that have something like that?
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Well tsunamis can be avoided relatively easily. Animals notice ground shaking, and move away from the coast. It would make sense that an instint like this would come up though.

But earthquakes, I dont think there is anyway to sense them before they actually occur. There is no reason to do this anyway, even a very large earthquake wouldn't have much effect on animals since they dont live in collapsible structures.

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']Well tsunamis can be avoided relatively easily. Animals notice ground shaking' date=' and move away from the coast. It would make sense that an instint like this would come up though.

But earthquakes, I dont think there is anyway to sense them before they actually occur. There is no reason to do this anyway, even a very large earthquake wouldn't have much effect on animals since they dont live in collapsible structures.[/quote']

Tsunami's are caused by earthquakes...

well, most of them are.

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I know that most reptiles are actually particularly attuned to low-frequency vibrations, both transmitted by the ground and by the air. Crocs are exceptionally so, since they use sub-sonic communication (there are sub-sonic components to crocodile roars, as well as some other behaviors).

Mokele

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"I wonder if alot of these animals generally seek shelter when they hear low frequency sound, as associated with thunderstorms, and this helps them deal with earthquakes by coincidence."

If you are a cow and there is a thunderstorm you are in trouble. You can't rely on going into a nice steel framed building (certainly across evolutionary timescales you can't) and you don't really want to stand under a tree. If there's a wood then going into it and hoping you aren't under the tree that gets hit would be good. Going down hill would also be better than uphill.

If you are a cow that knows an earthquake is comming your best bet is to stand in the open (so nothing lands on you); this would be sucidal in a thunderstorm. If it's going to create a tsunami then you really want to go up hill rather than down.

The behaviour that would be adaptive for (relatively common) thunderstorms would be ill advised if there's a (relatively rare) earthquake.

Btw, what's all this rubbish about 5 senses? You can close your eyes and touch your nose with your index finger. You cant hear, see, taste smell or feel it coming- how can you do this?

How do you know when your bladder is full or when you are hungry?

People have a lot more than 5 senses.

It's entirely reasonable that cattle and other animals sense the oncoming earthquake. It's also possible that after an earthquake people think "That's odd, my dog was acting strange just before the quake; he must have known it was comming." Of course, the dog might have known that next door's bitch was on heat. Coincidences like that keep the psycics and astrologers in business.

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• 1 month later...

Many animals are sensitive to infrasound. Elephants can hear it and they can also feel infrasonic events through their very big feet.

Tidal waves (tsunami is not the right word - it means 'harbor wave') produce infrasound (IS) in huge volumes and the IS continues ahead of the tidal wave in the air and under water. Many animals would hear the IS and realize a big frightening event is approaching from the sea, so they'd naturally run from it and that means going inland away from the danger so making safe many animals but the humans would be quite mystified I suppose.

Many animals also sense magnetic fields, electric fields and ultrasound.

Although I believe humans are able to sense magnetic fields too in the same way that birds do but 99% of us never know or use this.

Some people think that there is something 'mystical' about animals sensing tidal waves or there is a 'sixth sense' thing going on. Nothing of the kind.

I've been thinking about a simple and cheap way to detect tidal waves and I think I have a method, but cannot try it yet.

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What is infrasound? How is it different then just a normal vibration?

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Many animals are sensitive to infrasound. Elephants can hear it and they can also feel infrasonic events through their very big feet.

Tidal waves (tsunami is not the right word - it means 'harbor wave') produce infrasound (IS) in huge volumes and the IS continues ahead of the tidal wave in the air and under water. Many animals would hear the IS and realize a big frightening event is approaching from the sea' date=' so they'd naturally run from it and that means going inland away from the danger so making safe many animals but the humans would be quite mystified I suppose.

Many animals also sense magnetic fields, electric fields and ultrasound.

Although I believe humans are able to sense magnetic fields too in the same way that birds do but 99% of us never know or use this.

Some people think that there is something 'mystical' about animals sensing tidal waves or there is a 'sixth sense' thing going on. Nothing of the kind.

I've been thinking about a simple and cheap way to detect tidal waves and I think I have a method, but cannot try it yet.[/quote']

Tidal wave is not the right word. The wave has nothing to do with the tide. Regardless of the origins of the word tsunami, today it most definately means a wave created by an earthquake or other large event.

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What is infrasound? How is it different then just a normal vibration?

It's basically just sound, but the prefix explains where the frequency lies relative to human hearing. Infrasound is below the frequency range we can hear, while ultrasound lies above it.

Mokele

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Btw, what's all this rubbish about 5 senses? You can close your eyes and touch your nose with your index finger. You cant hear, see, taste smell or feel it coming- how can you do this?

We actually have hundresd of seses, but only 5 external senses. The motion of your limbs are called proriception (spelling?). None of these senses are mystical or supernatural.

I have heard claims of animals becomeing agitated before earthquakes, but this has always been after the fact that an earthquake has occured. People memories are not perfect and we do regularly alter our memories. So people might remember their pets acting strangely, but it was most likely at the time of the earth quake, not before. I have not heard of any studdies that actually show this effect to really occure.

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