Rain of animals  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Raining animals is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which flightless animals "rain" from the sky. Such occurrences have been reported from many countries throughout history. One hypothesis offered to explain this phenomenon is that strong winds traveling over water sometimes pick up creatures such as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to several miles. However, this primary aspect of the phenomenon has never been witnessed or scientifically tested.

Sometimes the animals survive the fall, suggesting the animals are dropped shortly after extraction. Several witnesses of raining frogs describe the animals as startled, though healthy, and exhibiting relatively normal behavior shortly after the event. In some incidents, however, the animals are frozen to death or even completely encased in ice. There are examples where the product of the rain is not intact animals, but shredded body parts. Some cases occur just after storms having strong winds, especially during tornadoes.

However, there have been many unconfirmed cases in which rainfalls of animals have occurred in fair weather and in the absence of strong winds or waterspouts.

Rains of animals (as well as rains of blood or blood-like material, and similar anomalies) play a central role in the epistemological writing of Charles Fort, especially in his first book, The Book of the Damned. Fort collected stories of these events and used them both as evidence and as a metaphor in challenging the claims of scientific explanation.

The English language idiom "it is raining cats and dogs", referring to a heavy downpour, is of uncertain etymology, and there is no evidence that it has any connection to the "raining animals" phenomenon.

Note that this is a regular occurrence for birds, which can get killed in flight, or stunned, and then fall (unlike flightless creatures, which first have to be lifted into the air by an outside force). Sometimes this happens in large groups, for instance, the blackbirds falling from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas, United States on December 31, 2010. It is common for birds to become disoriented (for example, because of bad weather or fireworks) and collide with objects such as trees or buildings, killing them or stunning them into falling to death. The number of blackbirds killed in Beebe is not spectacular considering the size of their congregations, which can be in the millions. The event in Beebe, however, captured the imagination and lead to more reports in the media of birds falling from the sky across the globe, such as in Sweden and Italy, though many scientists claim such mass deaths are common occurrences but usually go unnoticed.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rain of animals" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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