China’s Animal Farms Double as Earthquake Warning Stations

Officials are turning to animals to help predict major tremors.


Seven animal farms in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province in eastern China, are being transformed into earthquake warning stations. Each farm is home to at least three types of animals (chickens, fish, and frogs), and Nanjing’s seismological bureau has asked workers to report the animals’ behavior twice a day, looking specifically for indications of impending tremors. After a series of devastating earthquakes in the nation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences began conducting research in the 1970s about animal behavioral changes before earthquakes: 58 species—including chickens, fish, snakes, and dogs—were found to show behavioral indications of an upcoming tremor. China’s first seismic station farm was established in 1968, and so far, this method has helped experts predict and prepare for two major earthquakes.

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