Bizarre rain: When Fish and Frogs fall from the sky

Weird rain is one of the more bizarre - and still largely unexplained - phenomena that is periodically (yet continually) reported from all corners of the globe. There have been accounts of frog rain, fish rain, squid rain and even worm rain.
 Tadpole and Fish rain was reported in Japan.
Tadpole and Fish rain was reported in Japan.

Weird rain is one of the more bizarre - and still largely unexplained - phenomena that is periodically (yet continually) reported from all corners of the globe. There have been accounts of frog rain, fish rain, squid rain and even worm rain.

The logical explanation for the odd occurrences is that a tornado or strong whirlwind picked up the animals from a shallow body of water and carried them - sometimes for hundreds of miles - before dropping them on a bewildered populace. This explanation has yet to be proved, and it can’t quite account for all of the documented incidents.

Early last month, on October 5, 2010, there were heavy frog and fish rains in Nakuru, Kenya as reported by the Daily Nation newspaper. Days after fish and frogs “rained” from the sky in Nakuru, weather experts have warned Kenyans to expect more of such spectacles.

Joseph Mukabana, the Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department, was quoted as saying, “This is going to occur more often because of climate change.” Mukabana explained that fish and frogs are sucked from the water surface by strong winds into the clouds, which eventually deposit them in a certain area. 

It was reported that, after a strong wind, the sky was covered in clouds—as before any storm—but what fell was not water: Instead, a countless number of frogs that were not indigenous to that area fell across the entire village.

“I don’t know where the cloud came from, it had a strange colour and shape,” one resident, Ogendi Benjamin was quoted saying. He also added that, “Just as I was looking at it, frogs started to fall. I thought that a plane carrying a cargo of frogs had exploded.”

The Lake Victoria basin in East Africa is among areas where this has been reported. The reports of fish, frogs and other objects falling from the sky in a downpour in Nakuru are one of the most recent occurrences.  

Here are some of the more unusual cases that are a small sampling from thousands of reports over the years, that defy all rational explanation.


In 1873, a Scientific American, reported that Kansas City, Missouri, was blanketed with frogs that dropped from the sky during a storm.

The citizens of Naphlion, a city in southern Greece, were surprised one morning in May, 1981, when they awoke to find small green frogs falling from the sky. Weighing just a few ounces each, the frogs landed in trees and plopped into the streets. The Greek Meteorological Institute surmised they were picked up by a strong wind. It must have been a very strong wind. The specie of the frogs was native to North Africa!

In 1995, reports Fortean Times Online, Nellie Straw of Sheffield, England, was driving through Scotland on holiday with her family when they encountered a severe storm. Along with the heavy rain, however, hundreds of frogs suddenly pelted her car.


In February, 1861, folks in many areas of Singapore reported a rain of fish following an earthquake. How could the two possibly correlate?

Priests often pray for blessings from above... but fish? In 1966, Father Leonard Bourne was dashing through a downpour across a courtyard in North Sydney, Australia, when a large fish fell from the sky and landed on his shoulder. The priest nearly caught it as it slid down his chest, but it squirmed away, fell to the flooded ground and swam away.

These things don’t always happen in a heavy rain. In 1989, in Ipswich, Australia, Harold and Degen’s front lawn was covered with about 800 “sardines” that rained from above during a light shower.

When science does acknowledge this occurrence, the explanation often centres on a storm or hurricane lifting creatures out of water bodies, and through the air, from where they finally fall in remote areas. However, this does not explain how such a powerful storm could be discriminating enough to select only animals of the same species, and careful enough not to touch surrounding plant life.

Tornadoes and hurricanes are known to scatter and destroy everything in its wake.  Evidence of their presence differs quite a bit from the vast majority of animal rains concentrated to relatively small areas.

Another problem with this theory is that the animals that fall are alive—suggesting that little time has passed between the moment the storm collected them and when they fell.  How does this happen when there are no known bodies of water nearby? There are even occasions, like with the Salta spiders, in which the animals appear on clear days, without wind or precipitation.

So why do these animal rains occur? There have been several theories, but nothing has yet been suitably explained or proven. It appears that Mother Nature still holds some mysteries in this modern age.


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