Apr
04
2010

Toads sense impending earthquake

A whole lotta shakin' goin' on!: Recent study reports toads can sense pre-seismic activities.
A whole lotta shakin' goin' on!: Recent study reports toads can sense pre-seismic activities.Courtesy Bartosz Kosiorek via Wikimedia Commons
Scientists aren’t sure why but a recent study reports that toads seem to be able to sense early warning signs of impending earthquakes. Back in 2009, biologist Rachel Grant from the UK’s Open University, in Milton Keynes noticed that common toads she happened to be studying in Italy suddenly abandoned their breeding grounds in droves just days before an earthquake struck nearby. Somehow, the amphibians sensed danger and stopped spawning between the first tremor and the last aftershock, even though their colony was located over 40 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter.

“Our findings suggest that toads are able to detect pre-seismic cues such as the release of gases and charged particles, and use these as a form of earthquake early warning system." – Dr Rachel Grant.

Similar strange behaviors have been witnessed in frogs during an earthquake in China , but Grant’s study is the first to document such odd amphibian behaviors, before, during, and after a temblor. The study appeared in the Journal of Zoology.

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