Parrot predicted recent earthquake

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Forget the seismograph – while the people of Lancashire were asleep in their beds, this Fulwood parrot was falling off its perch.

Normally placid African Grey Scrimshaw toppled to the bottom of his cage – not once but three times – during last week's tremors.

The animal – nicknamed Scrim – seemed to be affected by the shakes even when his owner Norman Stephenson, who bought the parrot 12 years ago, couldn't feel them.

Norman, of The How Gills, said: "At about 1am the parrot went mad and fluttered around. It doesn't usually do it.

"I was upstairs and I didn't know what it was.

"It just woke me up and then a couple of minutes later, it did it again and I thought 'What's wrong with it?' It did it three times and I didn't think anything of it until somebody said it was an earthquake."

Although there is little scientific evidence for animals being able to sense earthquakes, it is reasonable to suggest they can sense the initial, weaker ultrasonic waves before people.

The quake, which measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, was the UK's largest for 10 years.

Over in Japan, doctor Kiyoshi Shimamura claims he notices a rise in dog bites and other dog-related complaints before and after earthquakes.

And before the days of Sian Lloyd and technology, our ancestors had to rely on observation, patterns and folklore to avoid being caught by the elements.

Cats cleaning behind their ears and cows lying down were just some of the things people would look out for.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "I am sure farmers use these things and there are truth in some of them.

"Some of them are probably regional so someone in the east might say it, but somebody in the west might not."

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