But How Did Zoo Animals React to the Earthquake?
In what will surely be the greatest press release of ths week, the National Zoo offers a catalog of how various animals reacted to yesterday's earthquake. In it, we discover that the range of animal quake reactions is roughly the same as the range of human quake reactions, from startled shrieking to baleful hiding:
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.
The black-and-rufous giant elephant shrew hid in his habitat and refused to come out for afternoon feeding.
All the snakes began writhing during the quake (copperheads, cotton mouth, false water cobra, etc.). Normally, they remain inactive during the day.
The red ruffed lemurs sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred.
Murphy, the Zoo's Komodo dragon, sought shelter inside.
My personal reaction was that of the giant panda. "Did not appear to respond to the earthquake." No word on which members of the Bird House engaged in incessant tweeting. [National Zoo, image via National Zoo]