The belief that animals are able to sense the oncoming of natural disasters has been around for centuries. Many have also believed that more specifically, some animals can predict earthquakes by their behavior to suddenly flee out of their environment when nothing else seems amiss.

A new study suggests that toads may be able to detect pre-seismic clues to impending earthquakes due to changes in their watery habitats. This study was set up after a scientist observed many toads fleeing from a breeding ground just prior to an earthquake that struck Italy in 2009. By coincidence at that time, a researcher by the name of Dr. Rachel Grant happened to be in Italy monitoring a toad population that was only 74 km from the 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

What Dr. Grant noted was that 5 days before the earthquake struck the number of breeding toads dropped drastically. 3 days prior to the earthquake she had witnessed that most of the breeding pairs and the males were gone. Her speculation was that they were leaving due to some kind of pre-seismic clues but she was not clear as to what this could be.

After publishing her findings in the Journal of Zoology she was contacted by Nasa. The Nasa scientists had been studying the chemical changes that occur when rocks are put under extreme stress and they knew that the rocks then released charged particles. When these charged particles reach the Earth's surface they then react with the air converting air molecules into charged particles called ions. Positive ions are known to cause headaches and nausea in humans. Also when they react with water, they will turn it into hydrogen peroxide which would be toxic to aquatic animals therefore causing them to flee.

Although the researchers stress that more studies must be done in order to verify this, Dr. Grant continues to be very optimistic that if verified, these clues could be used in the future to help predict earthquakes. All with the help from a very unusual partner - the common toad.

Responses to "Are Toads able to predict earthquakes?"

  1. Great post. The orthodox line is that earthquakes are unpredictable, but if we ran several early warning methods, and the majority of them were giving early warnings, it would be reasonable to take anticipatory action:

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting!:D -The photo is funny too - Looks like He's his own little solar system with those' orbitings' -

  3. Anonymous says:


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