The earth moved

Yesterday there was an earthquake on the East coast. This is pretty rare, so everyone tweeted the heck out of it. In fact, the first I heard of it was from a friend who casually dropped the word “earthquake” in the middle of an IM conversation. She lives in New York City, so the first thing I thought was, “Oh no, a plane hit her office building!” Luckily it was just nature being grumpy and not our fellow man.

It caught all of us humans by surprise, but the animals could sense it using their more awesome powers of perception. This is probably the most interesting article that came out of the earthquake: National Zoo Animals React to the Earthquake.


  • The red ruffed lemurs sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred.
  • The Zoo has a flock of 64 flamingos. Just before the quake, the birds rushed about and grouped themselves together. They remained huddled during the quake.
  • According to keepers, the giant pandas did not appear to respond to the earthquake.

I like that different animals have different reactions. The pandas were clearly too drowsy to care. “Earthquake? I’m sleepy enough that it feels more like a waterbed.” But the red ruffed lemurs were like “We hear this all the way from the earth’s core! We don’t know what your issue is, but we’re gonna go cling to a damned tree STAT!”

All of this reminded me of another article that came out of the Japanese tsunami, about a shitzu that saved her master from the devastation by insisting that they walk uphill, quickly, to higher ground.

Perhaps humans lost our ability to read nature’s signs when we began to modify nature? …Or perhaps we’ve always been the otherly-abled of the animal world…

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