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Can Dogs, Cats Predict Earthquakes?

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Can Dogs, Cats Predict Earthquakes?

Friday morning’s earthquake that shook parts of the Midwest, including the Chicago region, may have taken humans by surprise, but maybe not animals. Some experts suggest animals may have a deeper sensitivity, sort of a built-in early warning system.

Residents from far southern Illinois all the way up near Chicago report that their pets acted strangely prior to the recent earthquake.

While there’s no proven link between animal behavior and predicting earthquakes, Dr. Valarie Chalcraft says it’s not out of the question. Dr. Chalcraft is an animal behavior expert in Chicago.

CHALCRAFT: There’s an idea that animals have a keen sense of avoiding predators and finding prey. So, avoiding earthquakes and moving to higher ground, as a lot of animals did right before the tsunami in Asia in 2004, could be considered predator avoidance in essence.

Some behavior by pets, such as dogs, cats and even fish, may include nervous pacing, whining or swimming erratically.

Research in this area is very limited, says Dr. Chalkraft, with most studies being done in China and Japan.

The U.S. Geological Survey is already on the record, though, as being skeptical about there being any connection between animal behavior and earthquakes.

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