Welcome! The alpacas and farm life have become my constant teachers, and I have begun shifting my blog focus to reflect the lessons I am learning. I plan to share more thoughts and stories related to farm life in Grays Harbor County and carve out a space in the ethernet where one can stop, breathe, and think.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Animals and Earthquakes

Given that this is not an alpaca-specific post, it is a little off topic. But, the recent earthquakes in the world have reminded me about some of my experiences with animals and seismic activity.

Having spent more than half of my life on the west coast, I am no stranger to earthquakes. Growing up in California, I distinctly remember my cat acting very strangely about 15 minutes before a temblor. However, sometimes she would act the same way with no subsequent earth shaking. Of course, back then, we didn't have the internet and 24/7 access to the USGS website. If I had, I imagine that I would have discovered some seismic event had taken place nearby, even if we humans didn't sense it. Watching my current cat's keen interest in anything new that arrives in the room, even if it was just a box moved from the garage, I am reminded that animals have not been desensitized to their environments to the same extent as people. They also can hear frequencies that we cannot and are not predisposed to believe that the mild shaking they just felt was due to a truck driving by the house.

My other earthquakes-and-animals story comes, ironically enough, from the midwest. When I was living in Milwaukee, I had a live trap strategically placed (and loaded with cat food) to entice the mice living under the dishwasher to come out for relocation. For their part, the tiny rodents were usually quiet, but one night I was awakened at 1 am to the sound of scratching. Finally coming to my senses, I realized that it must be a mouse in the trap and returned to sleep. In the morning, I found two mice in the trap. That itself is not necessarily significant, but the fact that I soon learned of an earthquake that had occurred in the Chicago area around 1 am is, I believe, significant. Having never heard scratching before or after that particular occurrence, I'm sure those mice were pretty freaked out about the earthquake, even though I never felt it.

To bring this back to alpacas, I have not yet seen how alpacas react to earthquakes. If you have observed alpacas' or llamas' reactions before and/or after a seismic event, please leave a comment. I'd love to read about your experience.

Ciao for now,

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