Does it ever rain frogs and fish?

No popular belief is more firmly fixed than that frogs, fish, snakes, clams, eels, turtles, angleworms and other living creatures are drawn up into the clouds by the sun and later rained down upon the earth. There are references in literature to “showers of frogs and fish” as far back as the second century A.D. and perhaps earlier. Any thinking person knows that the sun cannot pick up small animals and reptiles and hold them floating in the atmosphere. The presence of such creatures on the ground immediately after a rain is probably owing to one of two causes. In the case of frogs, toads, turtles, earthworms and insects, they were probably there before the rain stimulated them into activity. It only appears to the casual observer that they have fallen from the sky with the rain. Most of the “frogs” reported to fall in “showers of frogs” turn out to be toads. Various species of small toads are in the habit of burrowing into the earth where they remain inactive and unseen during dry spells. When it rains they emerge from their burrows and become conspicuous by their sudden activity. But scientists are inclined to believe there are numerous authenicated cases of fish falling from the sky during rainstorms. The [ 386 ] conventional theory is that high winds, tornado-like whirlwinds and waterspouts sometimes scoop up fish from the water, transport them a considerable distance and deposit them on the ground, as such winds will carry pebbles or pieces of wood a long distance. There is evidence that “twisters,” which become waterspouts over the water, occasionally pick up seashells, seaweed and other inanimate objects and deposit them on the land miles away. The difficulty with the theory that twisters occasionally “suck up” live fish is that nobody has ever witnessed the phenomenon. People have seen fish falling from the sky with the rain but have never seen fish “going up into the sky.” Showers of fish are most commonly reported in tropical regions where sudden gusts of wind and whirlwinds are frequent. There is a place on the Pacific side of Honduras where it is said showers of fish are quite common. In India fish as much as three pounds in weight have been reported to fall in thundershowers. The fish are sometimes alive, but more often dead. Almost invariably they belong to species found in neighboring waters, either the sea or fresh-water ponds and lakes. So-called “blood showers” and “red rain” are generally due to the presence of colored dust, volcanic ash, plant pollen or minute plants in the raindrops. Falling “black snow” has teen, reported in some parts of the world. The “blood rains” that frequently fall over southern France, Italy and the Balkans are caused by reddish dust carried by winds from the Sahara.