Dog’s 6th Earthquake Sense

Apparently there was an earthquake in northern California this past weekend also, but fortunately not of the magnitude or devastation of the one in Haiti.

I stumbled across this interesting little vid taken in the offices of the Eureka Times-Standard at the start of the quake, and it really shows that 6th sense dogs have about imminent disasters.  At first the dog is relaxing on the floor (that’s my kind of office!) — she looks sharply at the floor and seems to dismiss it, then does a doubletake, jumps up and makes a panicked run for it, seemingly for no reason.    Seconds later the earthquake begins:

Always listen to your dog!  Dogs know stuff.

14 Responses to “Dog’s 6th Earthquake Sense”


  1. 1 Torontonian Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Legitimate question:

    How do cats act/react in the same situation?

  2. 2 Rob F Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Animals acting weird has been observed before earthquakes before, although the observations before are often ambiguous or controversial.

  3. 3 Bruce Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 7:09 am

    All my life I’ve heard about animals having advanced knowledge, more sensitive to their environments I guess.

    With the menagerie you’ve got, you should have plenty of warning. Trouble is, we would most likely look at out pets and go; what the hell is wrong with y…

  4. 4 Janus Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Cats react pretty much the same way, Torontonian. If they get more of a warning, they hide, rather than run, though.

  5. 5 Bruce Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Janus, you’re right, cats have their own way of reacting. I could always tell when something was up thanks to the cat I had in BC. He was great little guard cat, but he always did it growling under the bed. Sure enough, there would be a bear snooping around on the porch or something, my “fearless little dude who always looked out for number one” would let me know.

  6. 6 Janus Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “Growling under the bed…” Oboy! did that ever evoke some memories! 😆 And did he get there by tucking his toes as far under him as they could get and belly-running as fast as he could with his mane up and his tail all fluffed?

  7. 7 JJ Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Torontonian – I’ve seen cats get “weirded out” before a thunderstorm, so I assume their radar for disaster is similar to canines. They usually go hide somewhere.

  8. 8 JJ Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Rob F – Interesting. It’s not necessarily that reliable, ie. they don’t always react the same way within the same kind of timeframe, but generally speaking animals do seem to sense things like earthquakes before we do, because they can hear things that we can’t. Dogs especially, because they have bad eyesight (they’re nearsighted), their other senses make up for it (especially sense of smell, but also hearing).

    It’s not very scientific, but it is interesting!

  9. 9 JJ Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Bruce

    With the menagerie you’ve got, you should have plenty of warning. Trouble is, we would most likely look at out pets and go; what the hell is wrong with y…

    Not anymore! Long ago, whenever my animals would get weird, I used to look at them and go WTF is wrong with you, but eventually I caught on that when they get weird it usually means something’s happening or someone’s creeping around outside. When they get weird, I get armed.

  10. 10 JJ Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Janus – That’s what I’ve found with my cats — they do have a way of reacting to weird shit coming down, but not like a dog. They go and hide, under the bed or the couch.

  11. 11 Bruce Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Man, I’ve been in the city too long. Animals are our best alarm system, I have an alarm system and I never bother to turn it on unless I go away for a few days or so. A pet will let you know something is up well before an alarm system will, if the alarm goes off, your territory has already been breached.

  12. 12 ellroon Friday, January 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    A scientist was taping something on the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake and saw a huge spike in (inaudible to human) sound waves just before it hit. I think dogs might be able to hear them. Before our 5.5 years ago in Pomona Valley, my sister’s dogs went berserk running about the yard …. but they were berserk to begin with.

    China also tried to cultivate an early warning program using animals. One time it worked and thousands were saved, several other times it did not.

    And the pet fish in our aquariums don’t warn us of anything except lack of food…

  13. 13 JJ Friday, January 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Bruce – That’s the thing — alarms are great, but by the time they sound, it’s almost too late. Animals at least let you know something wicked this way comes and by the time it gets close you are ready to neutralize it with extreme prejudice 8)

  14. 14 JJ Friday, January 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Ellroon – Interesting. I think their heightened awareness is from a combination of more acute senses & the frequency of some of the sounds that happen before earthquakes or other sudden disasters.

    Dogs in particular have heightened perception about a lot of things — there are dogs who can tell when an epileptic is about to have a seizure, and recorded incidents of dogs finding cancerous moles on their owner somewhere. It’s quite amazing, really.


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