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Zoo Animals Knew About Earthquake Ahead of Time

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Lemurs at the National Zoo started wailing 15 minutes before the Mineral quake rocked the D.C. region.
Christa Burns (http://www.flickr.com/photos/christajoy42/5562862633/)
Lemurs at the National Zoo started wailing 15 minutes before the Mineral quake rocked the D.C. region.

The National Zoo says some of its animals knew about yesterday's quake well before any humans did.

Fifteen minutes before yesterday's quake, the lemurs at the zoo started wailing. Soon, other creatures started acting strangely too.

"Some of our apes, gorillas and orangutans dropped the food they were given, some of them vocalized in unusual ways, irritated or agitated vocalizations, and some of the birds huddled together and jumped towards water sources, which are what a lot of water birds will do in danger," said Heidi Helmuth, a curator at the zoo.

She says this is probably because the animals heard sounds ahead of the earthquake that we couldn't hear.

"Some of them have much different senses than we do," said Helmuth. "So, for example, elephants, they have infra-sound so they can hear things at a much lower frequency than the human ear can, just like a bat can hear at a much higher frequency than we can."

Helmuth says all the animals are doing fine now.


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