On August 22nd, 2011, a 5.8 earthquake hit Washington, DC, home to the Smithsonian National Zoo. While mostly non-destructive, it did rattle a few cages and nerves. This afforded a rare opportunity to observe the various animal's reaction to the quake.
- About five to ten seconds before the quake, many of the apes abandoned their food and climbed to the top of the tree-like structure in the exhibit.
- The red ruffed lemurs sounded an alarm call about 15 minutes before the quake and then again just after it occurred.
- All the snakes began writhing during the quake.
- The ducks immediately jumped into the pool.
- The beavers stopped eating, stood on their hind legs and looked around, then got into the water.
- The lions all stood still and faced the building, which rattled during the quake.
- The flamingos rushed about and grouped themselves together, where they remained huddled during the quake.
- The deer immediately ran out of the barns and appeared agitated during the quake.
- The giant pandas showed no reaction whatsoever.
In addition, after the quake several animals began vocalizing in alarm and annoyance, notably an orangutan, the howler monkeys, and the female deer.
Here's a news story reported after the incident, with naturist Jeff Corwin: