By Mark LaBarre

For five days before Helike disappeared, all the mice, martens, snakes, centipedes, beetles — and every other creature of that kind in the city — left in a body by the road that leads to Keryneia … But after these creatures had departed, an earthquake occurred in the night; the city subsided; an immense wave flooded it and Helike disappeared, while ten Spartan vessels at anchor were lost together with the city.  Aelian, De natura animalium, book 11, tr. from Latin



Aelian provides the first documented reference to animals behaving strangely prior to earthquakes, in this case, a quake and tsunami that destroyed the Peloponnesian city of Helike in 373 BCE.  No birds are mentioned among these burrowing creatures though, of course, some birds do live in burrows.  These birds had smarter escape routes than the traffic jam on the road to Keryneia.

Read Mark’s complete article here.

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