Make It Rain … Animals?

by Jessie Roberts

Apocalypse isn’t the only explanation for creatures falling from the sky:

Reasons for animals hurtling from the sky range from signs of the apocalypse (dating back to the Bible) to an everyday — or at least every-few-yearsish — act of meteorology. One of the most confusing parts of this persistent phenomenon is the notion of “falling.” For instance, when dark-brown snakes filled streets in Tennessee in January 1877, it wasn’t that they came from the sky.

Rather, torrential rains that morning may have dislodged the serpents from underground and flushed them to the surface. Similar deluge events may also explain some of the worm rains, some of the fish rains and the snails. New Year’s Eve fireworks exploding near blackbird roosting sites may have caused the 2011 Arkansas bird fall. And as wonderfully frightening as a rain of Brazilian spiders sounds (as was reported in the town of Santo Antônio da Platina last year) the phenomenon has been attributed to the species Anelosimus eximius, which spins massive group webs that can span trees and telephone poles and be scattered into a rain in strong winds. And the suspected deer or sheep meat that fell over Kentucky in 1876? Vomiting buzzards, or, as jokingly reported in the New York Times, a “meat meteorite.”

But what about the fish and frogs?

“It is certainly within the realm of possibility that fish and frogs could rain from the sky,” says Greg Carbin, a severe weather expert with the National Weather Service. “Especially when you look at the power of some thunderstorms and tornados, there’s a tremendous vertical component to the wind that can suck things up and deposit them far from where they were picked up.”

(Video: A scene from Magnolia)