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Raining Animals Phenomenon - Myth or Reality?

Raining Animals Phenomenon - Myth or Reality?
Heard reports about fish and frogs raining over various parts of the world? Let's take a peek into a bizarre natural phenomenon, wherein it rains animals.
Sucheta Pradhan
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Did you know...
... that Lluvia de Peces is an annual festival held in Honduras to celebrate the yearly occurrence of the Rain of Fish in the city of Yoro. It has been 'raining fish' in Yoro for over a century now.
'Raining cats and dogs' is a very common phrase used in the English language. Of course, such an incidence is not known to have occurred anywhere in the world till date. The phrase essentially signifies an extremely heavy rainfall with huge droplets of water hitting the ground with enormous force. Well, though cats and dogs are never reported to have rained as yet, there have been numerous reports from across the globe of different flightless animals and fish falling from the sky. Such incidents are known to have happened since distant antiquity, and there are a large number of first-hand accounts of people who have supposedly experienced the actual 'raining animals phenomenon'.

Awe-struck people have witnessed fish, frogs, toads, worms, etc., fall from the sky in the form of rain. While in some cases, these animals were found to be alive and normal even after they landed on the ground; in some other cases, dead animals seemed to have rained from the sky. Also, in some instances, the species of animals which rained, seemed alien to the people, meaning that such animals were not seen in the region before they suddenly came down from the sky.

Various people have interpreted such occurrences in a number of ways. While some believe that such a phenomenon may be a signal for some sort of natural calamity, given by God himself, others believe that there might be a plausible scientific explanation behind such an occurrence. Though a lot of researches have been undertaken till date and lot of theories put forth, none of them seems to be fool-proof.
When it Actually Rained Animals...
We have several ancient references to this strange phenomenon. The first century A.D. Roman writer, philosopher, and naturalist, Pliny the Elder was probably one of the first people to have recorded such an incidence. He writes about a number of rainstorms, wherein fish and frogs rained from the sky, and states that such mysterious occurrences are extremely rare. In recent times also, this mysterious phenomenon has been reported from several places. Let's take an insight.
▶ Some reports tell us that in the August of 1894, thousands of jellyfish 'rained' from the sky over the English city of Bath. According to documented evidences, these were very small, about the size of a British shilling.
▶ On 23rd October 1947, fish rained over the city of Marksville in Louisiana. One of the important witnesses to the downpour was A.D. Bajkov, a biologist from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife, who said that hundreds and thousands of fish fell from the sky that day, averaging about one fish per square yard. Bajkov collected and preserved some of the specimens, so that he could later give them to different museums.
▶ In June 2005, a Serbian tabloid, Belgrade Daily Blic, reported of a frog rain over Odžaci, a town, 120 km northwest of the Serbian capital. The report spoke of countless frogs falling from the sky, which were different from those usually found in the region. The amphibians were alive when they hit the ground, and immediately seemed to hop away in search of water.
▶ In April 2007, The Epoch Times reported of spiders mysteriously falling from the sky in the Salta Province, Argentina. According to one of the eyewitnesses, Christian Oneto Gaona, the strange happening took place when he along with his friends were hiking into the San Bernardo Mountain. They found the ground covered with numerous colorful spiders; some of them even fell on them. When they looked up, they saw a huge number of spiders falling from the sky, and a number of them even weaving webs.
▶ On 11th July 2007, there were reports of worms falling from the sky in the city of Jennings, Louisiana. According to an eyewitness, Eleanor Beal, an employee of the Jennings Police Department, large, tangled globs of worms fell from the sky, and they were very much alive and crawling when they hit the ground.
▶ In June 2009, The Telegraph reported an incidence of raining tadpoles in central Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture. As a result of this 'tadpole downpour', numerous dead tadpoles were found on the streets and hundreds of them covering the windshields of cars, which were parked in the parking lots. About 48 hours after this incident, a similar downpour was also reported from another city in the same prefecture.
▶ Similarly, a 28th February 2010 report of The Northern Territory News, Australia said that on the 24th and 25th of February that year, there was a rain of fish in the town of Lajamanu in the Northern territory of Australia. When the fish landed on the ground, they were still alive and there were so many of them, that people seemed to pick them up from everywhere.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there have been numerous other instance of animals falling from the sky at various places. Some other creatures which have been reported to have fallen from the sky include snails and mussels, geese, crayfish, maggots, snakes, and geese.
The Explanations
Though numerous instances of animals 'raining' from the sky do hold an element of truth, it is needless to say that many of these might also be hyped and embellished versions of actual happenings. Animal downpours, which took place in history may be easily dismissed as rumors in the absence of legitimate documentation. But those 'animal rains', which have been occurring in more recent times are difficult to ignore. The 'falling animals phenomenon', meteorologically known as the 'non-aqueous rain', has been studied by several scientists and meteorologists across the globe. The hypotheses put forth are varied and range from the absurd to supernatural, to extremely rational and logical clarifications. Some people simply regard such downpours as a supernatural event, possibly linked to the apocalypse, others propose logical hypotheses such as strong winds knocking the animals off their natural habitats.
Andre marie ampere
▶ The French mathematician and physicist, André-Marie Ampère (after whom ampere, the unit of electric current has been named) was among the first few scientists who undertook a serious study of the 'raining animals phenomenon'. In his theory, through which he attempted to explain the amphibian downpour, he pointed at the possibility of violent and gusty winds knocking off the animals from land and carrying them to other places, where they seemed to fall from a height. This hypothesis seemed logical enough to scientists who later on, sort of, built up on the same.
▶ A recent scientific explanation for the phenomenon involves its association to the tornadic waterspouts. Tornadic waterspouts are forms of tornadoes, which occur over water bodies. They appear in the form of vertical, funnel-shaped clouds over the surface of the water. According to some scientists, these waterspouts have an ability to pull the animals off their habitats and to transport them to high altitudes. The winds of these tornadoes are capable of taking these animals to distant places where, as an aftermath of the tornado, they seem to fall down from the sky over specific regions. Though this hypothesis seems apt with respect to the rain of aquatic animals, and also seems to be supported by the fact that such a phenomenon is almost always preceded by heavy storms and tornadoes, it does not, however, explain how, only a specific type of species is blown in the air every time, and why there have been no instances, wherein an assorted assemblage of animals have rained from the sky.

▶ Another seemingly credible explanation has been given with respect to the formerly unseen or unnoticed species of animals falling in the form of rain. According to researches, animals often, because of their light weight, are carried from their natural habitats to high altitudes by strong gusts of wind. These, then fall down in a concentrated manner over a particular region. More often than not, people who have very less knowledge about the species of animals inhabiting their areas, assume them to be alien species.
Though the phenomenon of raining animals has a reasonable amount of first-hand evidences, the exact reason for its occurrence is yet to be confirmed. What we do know, however, is that animal rain, though seemingly an extraordinarily strange and unusual phenomenon, is quite normal in many parts of the world. Though a lot of research and studies have been and are being done with respect to this weird natural phenomenon, this weather anomaly still demands a plausible and more credible explanation.