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EARTHQUAKE SNAKES (Animals and the Science of Earthquake Prediction)

Leonardo Film production in co-production with and for WDR/ARTE, PTS (Taiwan), LIC China with the support of nordmedia GmbH in Lower Saxony and Bremen.

Studying snakes, toads and ants, researchers have noticed peculiar behavior just days before an earthquake strikes. Could this observation help to predict earthquakes in the future?

Archive footage shows how the strange behaviour of animals led to the evacuation of one million people just before an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck. In April 2009 Rachel Grant from the Open University in the UK was on a field trip in Central Italy to observe the breeding of common toads. All of a sudden 96 percent of the male toads abandoned the site in the middle of breeding season. Five days later an earthquake struck the city of L’Aquila killing 308 people. “Toads would normally remain until the completion of spawning”, says Rachel Grant. When they started coming back, she knew there must be a relation to the earthquake.

The  film looks at evidence that electric currents within the earth’s crust could be one reason for the peculiar animal reactions before an earthquake.

Writer/Director:   Corinna Luecke

Producers:   Elmar BARTLMAE and Bessie Du


EARTHQUAKE SNAKES is being shown as part of the 2012 European Science TV and New Media Festival at 10:00 on Saturday 14th July 2012. A full festival programme can be found here.

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