Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zoo Animals in the Earthquake

We hope none of you were shaken too badly by Tuesday's earthquake.

Cleveland Park's tallest structure, the Washington Cathedral, (as we're sure you've all heard by now) lost the tips of three of its four spires.

Just to our south, at the National Zoo in Woodley Park, nothing fell down but quite a few feathers were ruffled -- and fur fluffed, as well -- as our animal neighbors reacted to the unexpected rattling and rolling ground. Well, maybe not unexpected by all inhabitants: According to the National Zoo's media release, a few of the animals seemed to react a few minutes before the earthquake started. The howler monkeys began making their alarm calls as much as 15 minutes in advance of the earthquake. Some of the great apes (orangutans and lowland gorillas) stopped what they were doing and climbed to the top of their tree habitats three to four seconds before the quake began.

The Zoo report has accounts of other similar pre-earthquake behavior from the flamingoes, and from a number of small mammals and reptiles.

You can also learn how many of the animals reacted during the earthquake itself. The most famous of the Zoo's inhabitants, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, did absolutely nothing.

We're happy to hear that no animals were injured, and all quickly returned to normal behavior.

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