Japanese researchers said on Wednesday they have proved mice act strangely after being exposed to electromagnetism similar to that often monitored ahead of a big earthquake.

In their experiments, researchers exposed mice to low levels of electromagnetism which people cannot feel, said Takeshi Yagi, professor at Osaka University in western Japan.

“The mice then became unstable and ran around inside the cage, scratched their faces and stuck their heads into sawdust in the cage,” Yagi said.

“We first observed unusual movement by mice kept in our laboratory eight years ago, the day before the Kobe earthquake,” Yagi said.

The earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, struck the western Japanese city of Kobe, west of Osaka, on January 17, 1995, killing 6 433 people and injuring some 43 700.

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