Several days ago, some videos about the unusual behavior of animals in Chenzhou city, Hunan province, became trending online. In some of them, fish are jumping out of the water simultaneously, and one jumped more than 3 feet high, as if they were trying to escape.
In another video recorded on June 17, toads are crawling from one side of the road to the other, then climbing up towards the mountain during daytime.
Hundreds of snails crawl from the river onto the road and spread over 20 meters in another region.
One might ask, has it ever happened before? In fact, many people have heard stories about animals that seem to sense an earthquake or other climate phenomena. Let us discover what occurred before the two largest earthquakes in China since the Communist Party took power.
In 2008, three days before an earthquake of magnitude eight hit Sichuan, China, toads covered the road in Mianzhu city. They were completely blocking the road, and even pedestrians could not pass. In addition, fishermen recalled seeing many fish jumping out of the sea before the earthquake.
The same thing happened to animals in Sichuan, just before the earthquake of magnitude eight. In a Wuhan wildlife park 600 miles east of the epicenter, dozens of peacocks began shrieking five minutes before the quake struck. Zebras pounded their heads into a door on the day of the earthquake. Elephant trunks swung fiercely; they almost hit a park staff. The 20 lions and tigers were walking around in the middle of the day. On a typical day, they were sleeping at that time.
Many Chinese believe animals can predict natural catastrophes like earthquakes or cataclysms.
Before the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the Chinese had already witnessed strange animal reactions before the Tangshan earthquake in 1979.
According to a Cambridge University Press article, a few hours before an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck the heart of Tangshan, three mules refused to enter the barn in a food factory in Laoting County. They only entered after being beaten for a long time. Then, they refused to eat three hours after entering the barn and kept puffing. These mules also turn their heads inwards and rump outward, erecting their ears.
Earlier, villagers in the Wentuo Commune in Wuning County also saw strange things. Three days before the Tangshan earthquake, more than a hundred weasels appeared in the village. The larger ones carried the smaller ones into the town. They entered through a gap in an old wall. Another dozen or more weasels were seen racing around a walnut tree.
The weasels kept moving in droves for the next two days, showing no fear of humans. They also kept squeaking in the middle of the night. This is a far cry from their usual behavior.
Scientists also studied animal behavior to see if they could predict or sense earthquakes and other phenomena or if it was just a mere folk tale.
Just to mention one example, in 2017, the National Library of Medicine examined the relationship between earthquakes of different magnitudes and daily milk production. The observation period lasted one year. The results showed that the cows produced less milk the three weeks before the earthquake.
Others could not explain the reason. But it wasn’t the only study that measured a change in farm animals’ behavior before a quake.
Several years later, in an international cooperation project of German researchers in Italy, the researchers attached accelerometers to the collars of six cows, five sheep, and two dogs that had already displayed unusual behavior before earthquakes.
The researchers detected strange behavioral patterns up to 20 hours before an earthquake. And the closer the animals got to the epicenter of the upcoming quake, the stronger they changed their behavior.