Common toads appear to be able to sense an impending earthquake and will flee their colony days before the seismic activity strikes.
The evidence comes from a population of toads which left their breeding colony three days before an earthquake that struck L’Aquila in Italy in 2009.
How toads sensed the quake is unclear, but most breeding pairs and males fled.
They reacted despite the colony being 74km from the quake’s epicentre, say biologists in the Journal of Zoology.
It is hard to objectively and quantifiably study how animals respond to seismic activity, in part because earthquakes are rare and unpredictable.
Some studies have been done on how domestic animals respond, but measuring the response of wild animals is more difficult.