Rain of animals

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A rain of fish was recorded in Singapore in 1861, when during three days of torrential rain numerous fish were found in puddles
Raining snakes, 1680.

Raining animals is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which flightless animals fall from the sky. Such occurrences have been reported in many countries throughout history.[1] One hypothesis is that tornadic waterspouts sometimes pick up creatures such as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to several miles.[1][2] However, this aspect of the phenomenon has never been witnessed by scientists.[3] It is now accepted that there is only co-incidental association between animals perceived to be falling from the sky and meteorological or earthquake related phenomena. [4]

History[edit]

Rain of flightless animals and things has been reported throughout history.[1] In the first century AD, Roman naturalist Pliny The Elder documented storms of frogs and fish.[5] In 1794, French soldiers saw toads fall from the sky during heavy rain at Lalain, near the French city of Lille.[6] Rural inhabitants in Yoro, Honduras, claim 'fish rain' happens there every summer, a phenomenon they call Lluvia de Peces.[7]

Explanations[edit]

Tornadoes and waterspouts may lift up animals into the air and deposit them miles away

French physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775 – 1836) was among the first scientists to take seriously accounts of raining animals. Addressing the Society of Natural Sciences,[when?] Ampère suggested that at times frogs and toads roam the countryside in large numbers, and that violent winds could pick them up and carry them great distances.[3]

After a reported rain of fish in Singapore in 1861, French naturalist Francis de Laporte de Castelnau speculated that a migration of walking catfish had taken place, dragging themselves over land from one puddle to another, following the rain.[8]

The likeliest explanation for many of the supposed cases is that there is no falling happening at all and the animals are driven along by winds or a deluge of some sort.[9] This explanation also accounts for the prevalence of reports that only a single species or type of animal is ever reported raining from the sky.

A current scientific hypothesis involves tornadic waterspouts: a tornado that forms over the water.[1][10][11][12] Under this hypothesis, a tornadic waterspout transports animals to relatively high altitudes, carrying them over large distances. This hypothesis appears supported by the type of animals in these rains: small and light, usually aquatic,[13] and by the suggestion that the rain of animals is often preceded by a storm. However, the theory does not account for how all the animals involved in each individual incident would be from only one species, and not a group of similarly-sized animals from a single area.[14] Further, the theory also does not account for a genuine tornadic waterspout not actually sucking things up and rather just sort of flinging water vapor out to the sides.[4]

Doppler Image from Texas showing the collision of a thunderstorm with a group of bats in flight. The color red indicates the animals flying into the storm.

In the case of birds, storms may overcome a flock in flight, especially in times of migration. The image to the right shows an example wherein a group of bats is overtaken by a thunderstorm.[15] In the image, the bats are in the red zone, which corresponds to winds moving away from the radar station, and enter into a mesocyclone associated with a tornado (in green). These events may occur easily with birds, which can get killed in flight, or stunned and then fall (unlike flightless creatures, which first have to be lifted into the air by an outside force). Sometimes this happens in large groups, for instance, the blackbirds falling from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas, United States on December 31, 2010.[16] It is common for birds to become disoriented (for example, because of bad weather or fireworks) and collide with objects such as trees or buildings, killing them or stunning them into falling to their death. The number of blackbirds killed in Beebe is not spectacular considering the size of their congregations, which can be in the millions.[17] The event in Beebe, however, captured the imagination and led to more reports in the media of birds falling from the sky across the globe, such as in Sweden and Italy,[18] though many scientists claim such mass deaths are common occurrences but usually go unnoticed.[19] In contrast, it is harder to find a plausible explanation for rains of terrestrial animals.

Occurrences[edit]

The following list is a selection of examples.

Fish[edit]

1555 engraving of rain of fish

Spiders[edit]

Frogs and toads[edit]

Others[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Can it rain frogs, fish or other objects". Library of Congress. August 26, 2010.
  2. ^ How can it rain fish? BBC News 20 August 2004.
  3. ^ a b When It Rains Animals: The Science of True Weather Weirdness. Alasdair Wilkins. March 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Dunning, Brian (September 8, 2009). "It's Raining Frogs and Fish". SKEPTOID.
  5. ^ "How can it rain fish?", by Edward Green, BBC
  6. ^ Rivas, Orsy Campos (November 7, 2004). "Lo que la lluvia regala a Yoro (discusses a rain of fishes that occurs annually in Honduras)". Hablemos.
  7. ^ Comptes Rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des sciences. 52. 1861. pp. 880–81.
  8. ^ Nobel, Justin (2014-03-18). "When Animals Fall from the Sky". Modern Farmer. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  9. ^ Strange Rain: Why Fish, Frogs and Golf Balls Fall From the Skies. Sarah Zielinski, Smithsonian Magazine. 8 September 2015.
  10. ^ What is animal rain phenomenon and how is it explained?. World Weather Online. 19 August 2014.
  11. ^ When It Rains Animals: The Science of True Weather Weirdness. Alasdair Wilkins, iO9. 21 March 2012.
  12. ^ Angwin, Richard (July 15, 2003). "Wiltshire weather". BBC.
  13. ^ When Animals Rain From The Sky. Scribol.
  14. ^ "Bat-eating Supercell". National Weather Service. March 19, 2006.
  15. ^ "More than 1,000 blackbirds fall out of Arkansas sky". BBC News. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  16. ^ "Why Are Birds Falling From the Sky?". National Geographic. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  17. ^ "Now It's Dead Doves Falling From Sky in Italy". "AOL". 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  18. ^ "FACT CHECK: Mass bird, fish deaths occur regularly". "Associated Press". 7 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  19. ^ McAtee, Waldo L. (May 1917). "Showers of Organic Matter" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. 45 (5): 223. Bibcode:1917MWRv...45..217M. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1917)45<217:soom>2.0.co;2. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  20. ^ "Rained Fish", AP report in the Lowell (Mass.) Sun, May 16, 1900, p4
  21. ^ "Canada Day weather through the years", reported in The Weather Network : [1] Archived 2012-06-30 at the Wayback Machine, June 27, 2012
  22. ^ Greg Forbes. Spooky Weather. The Weather Channel. Posted: October 27, 2005 Archived December 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/features/halloween/raining_fish.shtml
  24. ^ Fish Rain in Kerala, India
  25. ^ "Fish Rain", reported in the India : [2], October 24, 2009
  26. ^ "It's raining fish in Northern Territory", reported in news.com.au : [3], February 28, 2010
  27. ^ Lani Nami Buan (January 15, 2012). "It's raining fish! It's normal". GMA News. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  28. ^ Jereco O. Paloma (January 15, 2012). "Agusan's 'rain of fish' natural although unusual". SunStar Davao. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  29. ^ "Fish Rain", reported in the India : [4], September 12, 2013
  30. ^ "Fish rain down on Sri Lanka village, reported in https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia : [5], 6 May 2014
  31. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So3c2GSXYs0
  32. ^ Villagers wake up to find fish in fields!, The Times of India, August 17, 2015
  33. ^ "Fish rain in diredawa Ethiopia.", http://mereja.com/news/1080799
  34. ^ "Fish rain in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh"., One India Telugu, May 20, 2016
  35. ^ "Catfish Falls From Sky and Strikes Woman in Face Near Art Museum, Philadelphia"., Philadelphia Enquirer, September 9, 2016
  36. ^ "llovieron peces en Mexico, Tampico Tamaulipas".
  37. ^ http://www.ktvu.com/news/how-100-fish-rained-down-on-an-oroville-school-remains-a-mystery
  38. ^ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/07/fish-rain-falls-on-sri-lankan-village/
  39. ^ a b Spiders Rain From Skies In Australian Town Of Goulburn, Huffington Post UK
  40. ^ "It's Raining Spiders!".
  41. ^ "Designer registra 'chuva de aranhas' em cidade do interior do Paraná". Globo.com. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  42. ^ Demetriou, Danielle (2009-06-10). "Sky 'rains tadpoles' over Japan". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  43. ^ "Szemtanúk szerint békaeső hullott a településre". szoljon.hu. 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
  44. ^ "Cómo fue que viví una lluvia de ranas y sapos" [How it was that I experienced a rain of frogs and toads] (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2017-04-04.
  45. ^ Fort, Charles (1919). "Ch. 4". The Book of the Damned. sacred-texts.com. p. 48.
  46. ^ "Worms Fall from the Sky in Jennings". WAFB Channel 9. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  47. ^ "青岛下"海鲜"?真实情况并不好笑". 时讯网. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  48. ^ It's raining octopus! Sea creatures fall from the sky after being 'sucked from the ocean by a waterspout and carried into coastal city' during powerful storm in China, dailymail.co.uk, 15 June 2018

Further reading[edit]

  1. Bajkov, A.D. Do fish fall from the sky? Science, v. 109, April 22, 1949: 402.
  2. Bourchier, Daniel. “It’s raining fish…no really.” Sunday Territorian, Australia, February 28, 2010.
  3. Branley, Franklyn M. It's raining cats and dogs: all kinds of weather and why we have it. Illustrated by True Kelley. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1987. 112 p. (Juvenile)
  4. Cerveny, Randall S. Freaks of the storm: from flying cows to stealing thunder, the world's strangest true weather stories. New York, Thunder's Mouth Press, c2006. 371 p.
  5. Chandler, Barb. Froggy weather. Weatherwise, v. 57, Jan./Feb. 2004: 42.
  6. Christian, Spencer and Antonia Felix. Can it really rain frogs?: the world's strangest weather events. New York, Wiley, 1997. 121 p. (Juvenile).
  7. Corliss, William. Tornados, dark days, anomalous precipitation, and related weather phenomena: a catalog of geophysical anomalies. Glen Arm, MD: Sourcebook Project, c1983. 196 p.
  8. Dennis, Jerry. It's raining frogs and fishes: four seasons of natural phenomena and oddities of the sky. New York, HarperCollins, c1992. 323 p.
  9. Englebert, Phillis. The complete weather resource. Detroit, UXL, c1997-2000. 4 v.
  10. “Frogs fall from the sky.” Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia, June 8, 2005. p. 2.
  11. Gray, J. E. The shower of fishes. Zoologist; a monthly journal of natural history, v. 17, 1859: 6540-41
  12. Gudger, E. W. Do fish fall from the sky with rain? Scientific Monthly, v. 29, December 1929: 523-527.
  13. McAtee, Waldo L. Showers of organic matter. Monthly Weather Review, v. 45, May 1917: 217-224. [6] (PDF).
  14. Posey, Carl A. The living earth book of wind and weather. Pleasantville, NY, Reader's Digest Association, c1994. 224 p.
  15. Waterspouts. In McGraw-Hill concise encyclopedia of science and technology. 5th edition. New York, McGraw-Hill, c2005. p. 2369-2370.

External links[edit]