In the hours before an earthquake, animals act strangely. Dogs bark and bark. Horses kick the barn walls. Cats look at things that no one else sees or run while chasing them. People would have seen animals do those things. Animals seem to know that something is about to happen. A woman’s pet turtle suddenly laid an egg. I’ve never done that before. The next day there was an earthquake. After the earthquake, the turtle ate its egg! A man woke up hungry one night. He got up to eat something. And he says his pet fish was jumping. Even two fish jumped straight out of the tank. A few hours later, an earthquake struck the city.

In Alaska, some grizzly bears woke up early from their sleep. They ran out of their holes. No one had ever seen them do that. A day later there was an earthquake.

Sometimes there are earthquakes under the sea. So a great wall of water can flood the earth. Animals seem to sense danger. In one place, the birds flew away from the water. The cows left their fields near the sea. They moved to the hills. Soon the fields were flooded.

Some places have more earthquakes than others. The people who live in these places have learned to take care of their pets. In a village in China a few years ago, the animals seemed to go crazy. Chickens ran up and down. The dogs wouldn’t stop barking. Mice and rats ran out of their homes. Two days later there was a great earthquake. Most houses feel depressed. But no one was in them. No one was hurt. The madness of the animals had saved many lives.

People who study earthquakes would like to know what animals know. It is not magic. Cats and dogs can feel the ground moving in ways that people cannot. Animals can hear sounds that tell them something is wrong. And when they are afraid, animals act strangely.

Animals can help people learn about earthquakes. One day we will be able to know when an earthquake will occur. And that could save lives, as it once did in China.

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