North Korea has a team of experts ready to alert the country to impending earthquakes—the only trouble is, its members can’t talk. State news media has encouraged citizens to look to their pets for notice of coming natural disasters, advising North Koreans to watch for dogs barking furiously, cattle rejecting food, or horses trying to make their escape. Data is mixed as to whether animals can actually predict such events, the AFP notes.
A National Geographic report on an Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 suggests they can: Before the disaster, elephants and flamingoes sought higher ground while dogs stayed inside. Low-frequency electromagnetic signals may serve as an earthquake warning to some creatures. “The belief that wild and domestic animals possess a sixth sense—and know in advance when the earth is going to shake—has been around for centuries,” noted the magazine. (Read more earthquake stories.)