Kids' Animal Station

For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals

Stuck in Time: The Animals of Pompeii

While in Sorrento, Italy, my mother and I took the train to the nearby ruins of the City of Pompeii. We also visited Herculaneum, a smaller ruin nearby.  As most of you already know, Pompeii (and Herculaneum) were destroyed by Mount Vesuvius all the way back in 79 A.D, and hasn’t been the same since. For the majority of my short time here on Earth, I’ve learned about Pompeii and its history, so it was really cool to go see the place and the volcano that caused such devastation. Besides all the mystical ruins and beautiful architectural structures, one of the main attractions to the area is the skeletons/molds of people who died in the eruption (interestingly enough, most of them are women and children). Something that I both learned and saw at the site was that there were animal lives lost among the two-thousand human lives.

 

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Photo by Zoe Smith-Holladay

This is mostly due to the fact that Pompeii was an advanced and civilized society. There were bathhouses, theaters, gyms, and courts, and many aspects of their society can be seen in the present day. For instance, the citizens of old Pompeii had many different types of art, such as theater, drawing, playing musical instruments, and writing, that were used to both be admired and to entertain. Like any civilized society, they owned and took care of pets, most often dogs. In addition, there were animals in the nearby forests that served as a source of food. As you might’ve guessed, the animals, both tame and wild, met their demise around the same time as the citizens of Pompeii. In the gallery of skeletons/molds, there’s a mold of a dog thrashing in pain on its back amongst the molds of humans, and can be seen in the picture above. It’s haunting to see the statues of helpless people and animals alike stuck in their last moments, most often spent in agony, as they move on from life and into whatever lies beyond it in death.

 

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A live puppy napping among the ruins on our visit to Pompeii.  

Interestingly enough, the animals of Pompeii may have been able to save some of the residents, if they had paid closer attention to the animals a little bit before the volcano erupted. Scientists are not entirely sure why this is, but they believe that animals are able to sense when a natural disaster is coming before it hits. There’s a good chance that the animals of Pompeii were going crazy just before the volcano erupted. Animals of all kinds may be able to sense a natural disaster coming and react, but dogs have been observed running to their owners, escaping their yards to get to higher ground, and seemingly going mad, moments before a natural disaster, most often an earthquake, strikes the area. We’ll never know, but there is a good chance that some people might’ve been saved or warned of the coming eruption if they had looked deeper into the strange behavior of the animals nearby. Then again, you can only expect so much from a civilization in 79 A.D.

 

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2016 by in Advice/Reviews, Animal Facts and tagged , , , , , , , .

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