Mother Nature Watch: How National Zoo Animals Responded to Earthquake

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The East Coast might not have expected a 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday, but the animals at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., seemed to anticipate the quake well before any humans felt a tremor. In fact, according to the TODAY clip above, some were sounding the alarm a full 15 minutes before the earthquake hit! The lemurs led the charge, sounding an alarm 15 minutes before the quake (and again afterward), according to the National Zoo. Several members of the Great Ape House foresaw the event by a little under a minute, abandoning food, climbing (a common behavior when danger is present), and vocalizing in a way normally reserved for moments of extreme irritation. The 64-member flock of flamingos showed concern as well, huddling up in a "safety in numbers" defense a few seconds before the earth shook.

During the earthquake, the lion pride, which was outside, all turned to watch a shaking building, but settled down moments later. One of the female tigers played it a little less cool, jumping at the first tremor. The snakes and lizards, which are normally inactive throughout the day, writhed and moved, and the Eld's deer and tufted deer ran outside immediately. The beavers were in the middle of being fed when the earthquake began. The ducks in the area instantly headed for water, and the beavers, after standing up on their hind legs, quickly followed suit.

Some of the zoo's most famous residents, the giant pandas, were unimpressed, with zookeepers reporting that there was really no reaction.

Fortunately, no zoo animals were injured during the event, but this unexpected quake was a good reminder that we should all be prepared to take care of our pets in the case of a natural disaster.

Vetstreet has great tips for helping you deal in a disaster. If you are in an evacuation zone, be sure to read our new article on how to evacuate safely with your pet.

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