A former Turkish member of parliament predicted that an earthquake was going to hit the country two hours before it did yesterday because of the behaviour of snakes in the country.
Melda Onur, a former representative of the Republican People’s Party, wrote: “There are reports of people seeing snakes two days ago in central areas of some cities, which is similar to what happened before the 1999 earthquake. Don’t tell me later that I didn’t warn you.”
2 gündür şehir merkezlerinde görülen yılan haberleri var. En son 1999 depremi az öncesi olmuştu. Demedi demeyin.
— Melda Onur (@meldaonur) June 12, 2017
Two hours after the tweet, Turkey’s western coast, including Istanbul, Canakkale and Bursa, as well as Greek cities, experienced a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, causing a wave of terror among residents.
Fear spread among residents of the Marmara and Turkish Aegean Sea regions as thousands of people left their homes and workplaces and fled into the streets, fearing buildings would collapse.
Scientists have confirmed that snakes can predict earthquakes five days before they occur by sensing geological changes in the depths of the earth.
According to Jiang Weisong, head of the Earthquake Bureau in Nanjing, China, snakes may be the best living organisms on earth in detecting impending earthquakes. When they sense geological perturbations, snakes escape from their burrows.
Weisong added that even if snakes are imprisoned in a room, they will try to break through the walls to survive if they sense that an earthquake is coming.
In 1999, the Turkish Marmara region experienced a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. The quake lasted only 37 seconds but killed around 17,000 people, leaving half a million homeless. The city of Izmit near Istanbul, which was partially devastated by the earthquake, was declared a disaster zone.
Note: This page was updated at 14:06 GMT on February 27, 2018 to correct the name of the city in the last paragraph. A previous version of this page incorrectly name the disaster zone as the city of Izmir.