The Quick 10: It's Raining Cats and Dogs (and fish and spiders and eels)


There’s some scary stuff going on around the world – hundreds of birds falling dead from the sky in Arkansas, Louisiana and Sweden; thousands of fish popping up glassy-eyed from the Arkansas River. There are all kinds of theories out there, but there’s actually some precedence for when animals fall from the sky. Here are 10 other times the freaky phenomenon has happened, although many of these can be explained by tornadoes and similar weather.

1. Jellyfish, but not jellyfish. Bath, England, saw a rain of strange “glutinous drops” in 1871. The London Times reported:

“…upon the 22nd of April, 1871, a storm of glutinous drops neither jellyfish nor masses of frog spawn, but something of a [line missing here in original text. Ed.] railroad station, at Bath. Many soon developed into a wormlike chrysalis, about an inch in length.”

Despite the fact that the article specifically says these were not jellyfish, this is usually referred to as the jellyfish rain, probably for want of a better term.

2. Worms. They fell from the sky in Jennings, Louisiana, on a hot summer day in 2007. There was never any exact evidence on the worms’ origin, but other people reported seeing a water spout in the Lacassine Bayou right around the time the worms rained down five miles away in Jennings. Many people have concluded that the two events were related.

3. Spiders.

I thought worms were gross, but spiders just might take the cake. A group of friends were hiking the San Bernardo Mountain in Argentina when they noticed the ground was absolutely blanketed with arachnids. That’s when they looked up and realized the creepy crawlies (a personal bias, I know) were actually falling from the sky. He even caught a picture of it, which looks like a Photoshop job but is real as far as I can tell.

4. Tadpoles. In Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, “clouds” of tadpoles fell over several cities in the coastal area. One 55-year-old man reported hearing a strange noise nearby, and upon investigation, found hundreds of tadpoles splattered across the windshields of cars in a parking lot. Similar instances were reported in nearby towns.

5. Lizards. In December 1857, citizens of Montreal witnessed their own deviant deluge – lizards.

6. Fish. The Weather Channel reports that on October 23, 1947, fish anywhere between two and nine inches rained down on Marksville, Louisiana. Several people were even injured by the falling fish. Louisiana sure seems to be popping up a lot in these tales…

7. Starlings.

Much like what has been happening recently, a shower of starlings dropped dead midflight and landed in the English garden of Julie Knight in March 2010. “Covering an area 12ft across, more than 100 birds carpeted the garden, each with blood oozing from its beak and curled up claws,” reported the

Daily Mail

. Although tests were conducted, nothing out of the ordinary appeared to have caused the birds’ deaths.

8. Eels. In 1918, it’s said that hundreds of dead sand eels fell upon the city of Sunderland in northeast England.

9. Alligators. A Dr. D.L. Smith was minding his own business in Silvertown Township, Colorado, in 1877, when a sudden downpour of live creatures startled him. They hit the ground and started crawling, which is when he realized they were 12” alligators.

10. More fish. But this isn’t just a one-time occurrence – Lluvia de Peces happens on an annual basis in Honduras between May and July. Many explanations have been offered for the bizarre event, but the story that is usually told goes something like this: Father Jose Manuel Subirana visited Honduras in the mid 1800s and was shocked and saddened by the poverty there. He prayed for three days and three nights for God to send the people of Honduras food. Father Subirana’s prayers have been answered every year ever since.

What do you guys think is behind all of the weird bird and fish deaths lately?