People Staff
August 24, 2011 03:00 PM

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake rattled much of the East Coast on Monday, causing building evacuations, cell phone outages and no shortage of joking on Twitter. But, how did the quake, whose epicenter was in Virginia, affect the animals at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo?

According to a dispatch from the zoo, the red ruffed lemurs were the first to react – and that was before the earthquake had even started. Fifteen minutes before the quake began at 1:51 p.m. ET, they “sounded an alarm call.”

A few seconds before the earthquake, an orangutan named Kyle and a Western lowland gorilla named Kojo joined other apes in leaving their food behind and headed for higher ground. Another orangutan named Iris made belch vocalizations to signal that she was feeling “extreme irritation.”

The snakes writhed about, which is unusual, the cuttlefish stopped eating, as did the beavers, and the lion pride faced a shaking building to see what all the rattling was about.

The giant pandas, however, were not affected at all, and went about their day as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

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