I have a theory about this when it comes to humans. I think we share this same instinct but it is dulled because of all that we distract ourselves with in life. I base this theory on numerous experiences I've had in life where I felt I was being warned right before something happened. Often because I was in a hurry or felt something else was more important I've ignored these "feelings" and ended up suffering the consequences. The importance of the spiritual life (and I realize that much of what is touted as 'spiritual' is anything but) is that it helps us as Jesus said to "watch".
FromWorldNetDaily: Disaster mystery: No dead animals:
"According to reports out of Colombo, Sri Lankan wildlife officials are said to be stunned.
'The strange thing is we haven't recorded any dead animals,' H.D. Ratnayake, deputy director of the national Wildlife Department, told Reuters. 'No elephants are dead, not even a dead hare or rabbit.'
'I think animals can sense disaster,' he added. 'They have a sixth sense. They know when things are happening.' "