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Can animals predict natural disasters? Many people who have survived hurricanes and earthquakes believe they can. Just before an earthquake hit Haicheng, China in February 1975, residents found hundreds of snakes near their homes. This was very unusual, because snakes sleep underground during the winter months. In the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, animals at Yala National Park in Sri Lanka ran to a safe place before floods arrived.

Scientist Jim Berkland believes animals know when disaster is on its way. According to Berkland, animals often behave strangely before a natural disaster and do something to protect themselves. A dog, for example, may bark more loudly, hide or run somewhere safe. Berkland has predicted earthquakes in California, where he lives, by counting the number of adverts about lost pets in newspapers. In October 1989, he found an unusually high number of these adverts. That was the time when an earthquake struck San Francisco, and Berkland successfully predicted the earthquake four days before it ocurred.

But not all scientists agree with Berkland. First of all, in California, there are more than 200 earthquakes a year, so anyone can predict an earthquake, they say, just by guessing. Also, scientists who have looked at other earthquakes haven't found a connection between the number of lost pet adverts and natural disasters. There is one point that most scientists agree on. Animals may feel vibrations in the Earth before people do. This explains why they often run from disasters more quickly. But scientists warn us not to start planning for an earthquake every time a dog runs away. There may be other reasons why it's behaving strangely.

Can Animals
Natural Disasters?


Complete the sentences with information from the text.

a) It's very to find hundreds of snakes near the houses.

b) Animals at Yala National Park run to a safe place to protect themselves from the .

c) Jim Berkland is a who thinks that animals behave strangely before a natural disaster.

d) Most scientists agree that .

e) According to some scientists, it's very easy to predict an earthquake in California because .

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Answer these questions about the text. Use short answers.

a) Where in China did the earthquake happen in 1975? .

b) When did a tsunami hit Sri Lanka? .

c) How many years before the San Francisco earthquake did Berkland predict it? .

d) How has Berkland predicted earthquakes in California?

e) According to scientists, should we think an earthquake is coming every time a dog runs away?
, .

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