Riddles of Nature: Rain of Frogs and Fish


Imagine walking down the street one day and all of a sudden it’s raining frogs on you! Or fish flopping on the ground and on the windshield of your car. I’m sure you’d be amazed and want to know what’s going on. Such cases have not been officially recorded anywhere, but there are a lot of rumors about them. We will try to explain this phenomenon from a scientific point of view.
rain of frogs

Rain of animals is a rare occurrence, but reports of it have come from all over the world. Recently, in March 2010, such rain fell in Australia. When it rained, fish, frogs and birds fell from the sky. Some animals survived the fall very well, although they were in a state of shock. Apparently, they fell to the ground shortly after they were picked up … But how does this happen?
fish rain
Eyewitnesses of the rain of frogs claimed that the animals were healthy and quickly returned to normal. In some cases, the animals were covered with a crust of ice. Sometimes only body parts of frogs or fish fall. What is the reason for this phenomenon? One theory suggests that strong winds over water can pick up animals and carry them a long distance before dropping them to the ground. This aspect has never been scientifically proven.
rain of fish

The French physicist, Andre-Marie Ampère, was one of the first scientists to take rain of frogs seriously. He suggested that frogs and toads roamed the countryside and that strong winds could indeed lift them into the air and carry them long distances. But he could not prove and confirm his theory with facts.
rain in australiarain of animals

A more recent theory involves waterspouts. The idea is that tornadoes and waterspouts have the ability to pick up animals and move them very, very far. A tornado can actually suck out an entire body of water, along with its inhabitants, and move it to another location. The problem with this theory is that it does not explain why all the animals that drop out in one place are of the same variety.

Birds and bats are another story. Whole flocks of birds in flight can be caught by thunderstorms and tornadoes and then fall to the ground elsewhere. While the rain of birds or bats is fairly easy to explain, the rain of frogs or fish remains a mystery, as neither scientists nor witnesses have time to capture the event.

In most cases, this phenomenon is random, and occurred in different places. But in Honduras, it has been raining frogs every year since the mid-19th century. Fish rain, or Luvies de Peques, occurs in Yoro County, baffling locals and scientists. Every year, eyewitnesses report that in May or June, dark storm clouds, accompanied by thunder and lightning, appear on the horizon. Heavy rain begins, which lasts more than three hours. After such a rain, all city streets are strewn with live fish.
frogs from the sky

National Geographic conducted research in this area in 1970. Experts witnessed the case, but could not offer an explanation. It is difficult to explain why all fish are the same size and same species. In addition, it is also puzzling that this species of fish does not inhabit the local waters. One scientific theory is that the fish are caught in a water tornado shaped by strong winds. Some think that fish can fly from the Atlantic Ocean, located at a distance of 200 km, or inhabit the underground rivers of the area. And here is a scientific film explaining the phenomenon:

While science is trying to find an explanation, the locals are convinced that the annual fish rain is nothing short of divine intervention. Between 1856 and 1864 the Catholic priest Father José Manuel Subirana lived in this area. Many Catholics in Honduras consider him a saint, even though the Vatican did not give him such an honor. He spent three days and three nights in seclusion and prayer, asking for indulgence for a poor country and for daily bread. Legend has it that when the Father completed his three days of prayer, the first fish rain came. The locals always collect fish that helps them to feed themselves.

fish rain

Here are examples of such phenomena of which evidence remains:

  • Scientific American magazine on January 15, 1877, recorded a rain of snakes, some of which reached a length of about 45 cm in Memphis. More than fifteen animal rains fell in the US in the 19th century alone
  • In June 1880 it rained quails over Spanish Valencia.
  • Dead canaries fell in the city of Saint Mary in Maryland (USA), in January 1969. According to the Washington Post, their fall was due to sudden death in flight, as if from an explosion that no one saw or heard.
  • In 1978, shrimp fell from the sky in New South Wales, Australia.
  • It rained spiders in Salta, Argentina in 2007

This list can be continued for a very long time, so I have given only the most interesting cases. The phenomenon remains a mystery; whether it will be solved by science is unknown.