How zoo animals in Washington, D.C. reacted to the earthquake on August 23, 2011

These are descriptions of how animals at The National Zoo in Washington reacted to the earthquake.  Some reacted before it began shaking.

From Popular Science

“Keepers were feeding the beavers and hooded mergansers (a species of duck) when the earthquake hit. The ducks immediately jumped into the pool. The beavers stopped eating, stood on their hind legs and looked around, then got into the water, too. They all stayed in the water. Within an hour, some of the beavers returned to land to continue eating.”

“According to keepers, the giant pandas did not appear to respond to the earthquake.”

Hell, when there’s bamboo to be eaten, why get worked up about the ground shaking beneath you?

“The howler monkeys sounded an alarm call just after the earthquake.”

“Iris (an orangutan) began “belch vocalizing”—an unhappy/upset noise normally reserved for extreme irritation—before the quake and continued this vocalization following the quake.”

“About five to ten seconds before the quake, many of the apes, including Kyle (an orangutan) and Kojo (a Western lowland gorilla), abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit.”

“About three seconds before the quake, Mandara (a gorilla) let out a shriek and collected her baby, Kibibi, and moved to the top of the tree structure as well.”

This is my favorite picture; I can imagine that the gorilla is really trying to puzzle out what just happened.

“Damai (a female Sumatran tiger) jumped at the start of the earthquake in a startled fashion. Her behavior returned to normal after the quake.”

“The lion pride was outside. They all stood still and faced the building, which rattled during the quake. All settled down within minutes.”

“The Zoo has a flock of 64 flamingos. Just before the quake, the birds rushed about and grouped themselves together. They remained huddled during the quake.”

“All the snakes began writhing during the quake (copperheads, cotton mouth, false water cobra, etc.). Normally, they remain inactive during the day.”

This is actually really scary, especially because the named snakes are super poisonous.

 

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