Animals, birds and earthquake predictions?

Can animals and birds predict quakes, and do they leave an area after one? One of the effects of the Christchurch earthquake means our conversations around the water cooler, and over our fabulous coffee which we Kiwi are very fussy about, means quakes and how to predict them  are high on the chatter topics.

Last night I was talking with friends over the charlatans and soothsayers who seem to think they know things  that thousands of scientists, with years and years of international study behind them, don’t know.  A curse on all their houses I say!

The only good thing is that perhaps they are making people think about creating a survival kit … enough to be self sufficient for 72 hours is the recommendation by New Zealand Civil Defence.

We also talked about ‘birds leaving Christchurch after the first quake’ … as someone who was living there at the time of the September 4th 2010, 7.1 quake, I can tell you the birds never left the huge trees beside my apartment block in the centre of the city!

However I decided to do some research … but of course it’s all ‘after the quake’ research and I wonder how much the people who report natural events are influenced by their expectations or imagination.  This is not a criticism, just a fact of being human.  Police and other agencies have often said – 6 people witnessing an event will report six different views of the same incident.

Here is some of what I found:

The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behaviour prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC.  Rates, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days befor a destructive earthquake.  Anectdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects exhibiting strange behavior anywhere from weeks to seconds before an earthquake.  However, consistent and reliable behavior prior to seismic events, and a mechanism explaining how it could work, still eludes us.  Most, but not all, scientists pursuing this mystery are in China or Japan.” read more of article this here ( Sic. Spelling mistakes as per the website!)

For knowledgeable, scientific  information I believe this NZ site will give you the best information.

Author: Heather - the kiwi travel writer

Nomadic travel-writer, photographer, author & blogger. See more on and Amazon for my books (heather hapeta)

4 thoughts on “Animals, birds and earthquake predictions?”

  1. This article about toad behavior before the L’Aquilla earthquake in Italy is very interesting.

    I’m hoping one day we will be as perceptive as toads so we can at least evacuate dangerous buildings prior to quakes.

    “The clever men at Oxford Know all there is to be knowed – But they none of them know as half as much As intelligent Mr. Toad “


  2. Some years ago I was living in Tirta Gangga, Bali. While I was away for a week on business in Vanuatu, an old woman from a primitive hut above our home started yelling frantically, banging on pots. The call got carried by others throughout the surrounding hills. My wife & son wondered what was going on, then one minute later BANG, a decent 30 sec shake. No highrises, no stone buildings, limited services meant it passed without incident (to us at least), but the question remains. How did she know? 1 minute is barely enough time to prepare, but better than none. There is certainly more going on with our planet that us westernised ‘modern’ people have no idea about, and that includes GNS scientists. I’m not prepared to write off seers of any kind, be they Aztec ‘witchdoctors’, Maori Tohunga or Nostradamus. I don’t include them in the same sentence as charlatans, although differentiating between the two is where the difficulty stands.

    The author Heather Hapeta is familiar with the location, she visited a few times earlier this century.


    1. There are some folks and Animals who can feel the S-Waves. Very well what the old woman may have felt. In the states we have a gentleman that predicts them based on the number of missing Animals in the classifieds and craigslist.



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