Many say their animals acted strangely during the earthquake

- People took to social media immediately following the earthquake, some trying to figure out what had just happened, others reporting their experiences.

One thing many people commented on over and over was that they noticed their pets acting strangely just before the earthquakes happened, almost as if they had a sixth sense.

Contrary to an urban legend, dogs cannot sense earthquakes before they happen. If your pet went a little bonkers last night, it's because he/she sensed an earthquake that was already happening. Animal expert Dr Grey Stafford spoke to FOX 10 about this keen sense animals have at home, and in the wild.

9-year-old "Venti" was sound asleep last night when his owner awoke to a loud noise.

"We thought the air conditioning unit had popped on, but then it stayed on very loudly," said Dr Grey Stafford.

Venti slept through the vibrations, but his housemate, a German Shepherd, reacted entirely differently.

"She went to find my wife who was still awake at the time, so the shepherd definitely heard the earthquake and was upset by it," said Stafford.

Stafford is the Director of Conservation at Wildlife World Zoo. He's not surprised that his shepherd, a famously "alert" breed, would sense a quake before humans do. In fact, Dr Grey says any animal with a keen sense of hearing like dolphins or bats can sense vibrations before humans can.

"You know elephants can hear in infrasonic range, and they actually can hear sound waves that are generated from miles at a distance," he said.

Animals at zoos are often desensitized to loud noises like trucks or airplanes, but in the wild Dr Stafford says an earthquake could cause some species to scare and stampede.

"Any kind of rapid change would be signal to get out, to run, to flee until you don't hear that sound, or feel that sensation any longer," said Stafford.

But don't expect Venti to flee anytime soon, the only sound he's on alert for is the shaking of that next bowl of kibble.

Dr Grey says last night's tremors didn't cause any stampedes or other unusual reactions at the Wildlife World Zoo.

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