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I image most people have heard stories of fish, frogs, or other small animals raining from the sky. I found quite a few articles on line with many instances of such occurrences but they were mostly from historic times and often from second or third person accounts. Then I came across this article from National Geographic which mentions two more recent accounts. The first they mention is a fish drizzle which occurred in Lajamanu, Australia in 2010 and the second is a frog fall which occurred in Odzaci, Serbia in 2005. Both of these events seemed to be backed up by meteorological claims of either tornadoes in the Australia case or waterspouts in the Serbia case.

What I'm curious about is:

  • If this is somewhat relatively common, with the abundance of video cameras now, why hasn't something like this been recorded. I've had no luck finding anything on line.
  • Why does it seem like it's always one type of animal?
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    $\begingroup$ Is this about the idiom 'it's raining cats and dogs?' $\endgroup$
    – Eevee
    Feb 27, 2018 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Imtherealsanic: No. It's about reports of small animals, mostly aquatic, falling from the sky. I've always thought it seemed outlandish but after looking into it a little more it seemed that it may be meteorlogically plausible. $\endgroup$
    – user11318
    Feb 27, 2018 at 2:26
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    $\begingroup$ Could it be logical to assume these were hoaxes or maybe a plane dropped them while flying low overhead? I ask because all the articles I read were one species of animal or it was octopus and starfish together- but why not octopus, starfish and other local fish? Also, if they have door or business cams- why no recorded evidence of the event? Seems odd to me. $\endgroup$
    – Kara Jones
    Aug 14, 2023 at 20:13

2 Answers 2

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(Deleted to avoid it being used by AI).

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  • $\begingroup$ As far as the types of animals: I'm sorry that I wasn't more clear about this. I find it interesting that it's either always all frogs or always all fish. Why not a combination of frogs and fish? Perhaps size would be such a limiting factor that it could be only one? As far as video evidence: I'd hope with the preponderance of video cameras that if this phenomena actually occurs it would be recorded and widely disseminated for anybody in the scientific community to scrutinize. $\endgroup$
    – user11318
    Mar 17, 2018 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I misunderstood what you mean by "one type of animal". I think the reason is again where the animals come from. If aquatic animals occur in great density, it's usually only one type. A pond at spawning time will contain hunge numbers of frogs because they all migrate into it at the same time, but much fewer fish. Other waters may contain fish swarms. Frogs and fish don't normally go together in equally large numbers. That's all assuming the tornado mechanism. Most likely many reports are just due to animals appearing for other reasons, e.g. frog migrations, then they would be one species. $\endgroup$
    – uUnwY
    Mar 17, 2018 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ Impressive list of reasoning +1 $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Apr 29 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ @StephanMatthiesen what makes you think your AI text will do anything? And what is your goal with it??? $\endgroup$ May 9 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JeopardyTempest You're right. Better to delete the whole answer. $\endgroup$
    – uUnwY
    May 10 at 11:12
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Brian Dunning already went into this extensively in episode 4170 of Skeptoid: It's Raining Frogs and Fish

In 1901, a rainstorm in Minneapolis, MN produced frogs to a depth of several inches, so that travel was said to be impossible. Fish famously fell from the sky in Singapore in 1861, and again over a century later in Ipswich, Australia in 1989. Residents in southern Greece awoke one morning in 1981 to find that a shower of frogs had blanketed their village. Golfers in Bournemouth, England found herring all over their course after a light shower in 1948. In 1901, a huge rainstorm doused Tiller's Ferry, SC, and covered it with catfish as well as water, to the point that fish were found swimming between the rows of a cotton field. In 1953, Leicester, MA was hit with a downpour of frogs and toads of all sorts, even choking the rain gutters on the roofs of houses. The stories go on and on: More frogs in Missouri in 1873 and Sheffield, England in 1995, and more fish in Alabama in 1956.

From everything he read, waterspouts seem unlikely:

Not once in a single case of several dozen that I read was there ever a report of a tornado or waterspout in the vicinity, or even at all, no matter how far away. I conclude that waterspouts have no connection, either hypothetical or evidentiary, to the phenomenon of frogs, fish, or any other animals, falling out of the sky.

For frogs it seem to be coincidences of bad weather and frog migration.
Well, not really coincidence: they probably migrate more (often) when it's wet.
And for fish:

You don't find mass migrations of fish crossing overland, do you? Well, maybe not mass migrations, but believe it or not, there are fish species that occasionally take to the ground in search of better waters. There are many species of "walking fish" in the world.

The main reason that they did not fall from the sky is simple:

Drop a fish off a building, and that's a dead fish

That's why you won't find actual videos.

Brian concludes:

Go back and read any story you've ever seen about frogs and fish falling from the sky, this time allowing for the possibility that the animals were already naturally on the ground when the witnesses first discovered them. Allow for the possibility that some elements of the report, like the falling part, could be based originally on witness conjecture or assumption.

Which is more or less what Stephan also writes in his answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Although I agree with most points in the article I wonder about 2 things. I wonder if at least some fish/frogs could survive the fall - some humans have. Also, I would hope that somebody investigating such an event would recognize that the fish species that had fallen could not survive (walk) out of water and therefore could have only fallen to their present location. I still remain skeptical without video evidence, but some of the articles I've read quote meteorological sources that say it is plausible. $\endgroup$
    – user11318
    Mar 17, 2018 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ 1. Some may survive, but that does not prove the claims of large numbers. 2. That 'human' article says nothing about height - maybe he just tumbled along the surface. This is exactly about the warning in the last quoted text. 3. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, i.e. the actual videos you ask for, not from some fish flapping in the mud. My bet is you won't find any. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Mar 17, 2018 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ The article makes a lot of important and valid point. But there's one point that I don't think is correct. He argues "Never do objects ascend the inner column, because there is simply no mechanism inside for doing that." However, there are systematic studies that small items were actually transported by tornadoes up to 355km away (phys.org/news/2013-03-tornado-debris.html). So, while I agree about not taking reports at face value, I don't think tornados can be dismissed as a mechanism in a small number of unsusual cases. $\endgroup$
    – uUnwY
    Mar 17, 2018 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you both for your input. I agree with the Carl Sagan quote and that if this does occur there should be some credible video evidence within the next decade. $\endgroup$
    – user11318
    Mar 17, 2018 at 13:52

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