How can animals know that a catastrophe is going to happen?

There are numerous mysteries surrounding animals that humans have not yet managed to solve. One of the most interesting is how and why animals can sense a catastrophe hours before it happens.


According to the Greek historian Thucydides, in the year 373 BC, dogs, rats, snakes and weasels they left the city of Helice a few days before an earthquake happened.

In the early 19th century, sheep, dogs, oxen, and geese they started making calls for help at the same time.

The situation repeated itself before the 1906 San Francisco earthquakewhen a large number of horses ran scared.

‘National Geographic’ has published several revealing facts about the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which caused several devastating tsunamis on the coasts of Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Numerous animals, such as buffalo, elephants or dogs they ran in a stampede to take refuge in the mountains hours before the waves destroyed everything in their path.

Years later, in 2010, exactly the same thing happened in the Sumatran tsunami. Several animals fled hours before, as if they had a kind of sixth sense that alerted them to the catastrophe.

Scientific studies

An investigation carried out by Martin Wikelski, of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany, has registered movement patterns of different animals on a farm located in a dangerous seismic zone in central Italy.

To carry out the study, they placed collars with chips to cows, dogs and sheep. These collars sent data on the movements made by the animals between October 2016 and April 2017.

Up to 20 hours before an earthquake occurred, the animals began to change their behavior. Moreover, each time an increase in this movement of more than 50% was recorded for more than 45 minutes, scientists managed to predict an earthquake with a magnitude greater than four on the Richter scale.

Why this happens is explained because animals have much more developed senses than humans. They are very sensitiveso they can smell chemicals and pick up low-frequency waves that go completely unnoticed by us.

Thanks to this research, we know how and why animals can know that a catastrophe is going to happen long before it takes place.