Did Animals Predict Earthquakes?

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes?

Turkey is trying to heal its wounds after the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş. After the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that occurred 9 hours apart, search and rescue efforts continued and the death toll exceeded 40 thousand. However, social media users suggested that before the devastating earthquakes, animals in the area could sense the earthquake. Can animals such as dogs, birds and cows sense an earthquake in advance? Can an early warning system be created with animals? Here is the answer of scientists…

Just before the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that occurred in Kahramanmaraş, social media users claimed that animals exhibited strange behavior. Accordingly, the dogs began to howl as the birds flew in crowds.

The idea that animals can detect strong earthquakes before humans is a theory that has existed since ancient times, and there is scientific research to support it. Just as seismological machines can detect tremors that the human body can’t detect, animals are equipped to detect small foreshocks that pass through the earth seconds before stronger seismic waves arrive, scientists say. Some researchers even say that animals can feel these tremors before the concussion.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes?


According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the abnormal animal behavior seconds before the earthquake is explained by the difference between the two types of seismic waves. Primary waves, or P waves, are waves that first propagate from an earthquake and travel at a speed of several kilometers per second from the epicenter. The USGS says these are more pronounced for animals. P waves are followed by stronger secondary waves or S waves that shake the ground in a rolling motion.

Few people notice the smaller P wave, which propagates fastest from the earthquake source and precedes the larger S wave. However, many animals with more keen senses can feel the P wave seconds before the S wave arrives. . is called.

But initial tremors detected and analyzed by seismology machines are also used by early warning systems to predict earthquakes. Such devices usually give a warning less than a minute before an earthquake.

But can animals detect earthquakes earlier and better than modern machines? While humans have anecdotally observed for thousands of years that animals can detect earthquakes minutes or hours in advance, science’s answer is more complex.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes

Martin Wikelski, who conducted a study on this subject at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany, stated that animals can sense the earthquake even before the shock. aforementioned.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes?


In a study published by Wikelsi in 2020, he and his colleagues attached electronic tags to cows, dogs, and sheep on a farm so the animals could predict whether an earthquake would occur. Monitored for months, the animals were unusually active for more than 45 minutes before seven of the eight major earthquakes detected nearby.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes

The research, conducted with devices Wikelski describes as “basically small cell phones for animals,” suggested that animals could potentially detect earthquakes more than 12 hours before humans, well before any earthquake.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes

On the other hand, Wikelski said the reasons for the unusual reactions of the animals are not yet clear. “There are signs that they’re telling us something. We don’t yet know how they did it. The cows first froze, didn’t move at all. Then the dogs started barking,” Wikelski said. aforementioned.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes

In Wikelski’s study, the animals may have detected earthquakes up to 20km from the epicenter beforehand, he said. “There are other factors that these animals understand. But it’s still a black box,” Wikelski said. aforementioned.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes

On the other hand, 15 minutes before the earthquake that struck the US state of Oklahoma in 2016, so many birds flew that thousands of birds could be observed in the air with radar technology.

Did Animals Predict Earthquakes

Roman writer Aelian 373 wrote that the ancient Greek city of Helike was deserted by snakes, rats and insects before an earthquake destroyed it.

Gül Demirci

Hi, I'm Gul. I am a writer for Expat Guide Turkey and I strive to create the best content for you. To contact me, you can send an e-mail to Happy reading!


  1. Yes Muslims do believe that Animals are blessed with a certain sense that they able to feel certain things in advance. This includes death of loved ones, earthquakes etc. They start displaying unusual behaviour as a sign.

    1. My elderly dog, who I have never heard growl, woke me just after 1.p.m. the exact time a fairly strong tremors hit Central Italy recently

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