An estimated 500,000 detectable quakes occur in the world each year. Of those, 100,000 can be felt by humans, and 100 cause damage. As earthquakes are a sudden phenomenon, Seismologists have no way of knowing exactly when or where the next one will hit.
One of the world's most earthquake-prone countries is Japan, where devastation has taken countless lives and caused enormous damage to property. Researchers there have long studied animals in hopes of discovering what they hear or feel before the Earth shakes in order to use that sense as a prediction tool.
Some zoologists hypothesise that animals may have an ability to sense subsonic Rayleigh waves from an earthquake or a tsunami. Some animals seem to have the ability to detect natural phenomena and if correct, careful observation and monitoring could possibly provide advance warning of earthquakes, tsunami etc. However, the evidence is controversial and has not been proven scientifically. There are some unsubstantiated claims that animals before the Lisbon quake were restless and moved away from low lying areas to higher ground. Yet many other animals in the same areas drowned. The phenomenon was also noted by media sources in Sri Lanka in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
The following events happened to different animal before such catastrophe:
• Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground.
• Dogs refused to go outdoors.
• Flamingos abandoned their low-lying breeding areas.
• Zoo animals rushed into their shelters and could not be enticed to come back out.