It’s Raining Tadpoles? Fish, Frogs Shower Japanese Residents

By Allison Bond | June 17, 2009 1:05 pm

umbrellaShowers (as in, actual showers) of dead tadpoles, fish and even frogs have confused scientists, meteorologists, and officials in central Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture, located on the Japan Sea Coast. One resident found 13 dead carp, each around 3 inches long, on and around his car. Another reported hearing a strange noise in a nearby parking lot, then found 100 tadpoles covering cars in the lot.

Various objects and animals do occasionally fall from the sky: It’s called “Fafrotskies,” short for “fall from the skies.” These events generally occur when water spouts, storms, and strong winds suck objects from bodies of water and deposit them on land. But because there had been no reports of strong wind, many officials and meteorologists say this explanation can’t explain the torrent of tadpoles.

An alternative explanation is that birds who eat tadpoles and fish carried the animals in their mouths, then dropped them while flying. Still, some bird experts say that if this had happen, the tadpole carnage would have covered a more sizable area.

But what if a bird dropped everything in its mouth, all at once? That could cause a concentrated shower of tadpoles. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Japan just started its annual rainy season. We hope they figure this one out soon, because if there’s anything worse than getting caught in a downpour, it’s being pelted by dead tadpoles and fish.

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Image: flickr / eclaire

  • Patimus

    its a plague!!!!!


    Ah yes! That old frog rain thing is so funny!

    Tornados pick up fogs from lakes and/or rivers and in the rain they fall down on people!


  • WLLewis

    Maybe a bored Japanese flyer with nothing better to do

  • Helen

    Didn’t that also happen in the uk somewhere in the seventies or eighties? –A bunch of fish got sucked out of a pond(along with a sizeable amount of water, I think I should point out) by a waterspout and the fish rained down on a nearby town. From what I recall, some of them even survived their travels, landing in puddles and containers and suchlike. Now I’m wondering whether the fish and tadpoles could have stayed in the atmosphere long enough to a)travel a lenghthy distance, or b)seem to come out of nowhere, meteorologically speaking.

  • Iris

    Thank you so very much for this. I know that this is true because it happened to me in the Colorado Rocky Mts. where I once lived. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. I was driving along a 2 lane road, when it started raining thousands of very small frogs. They were hoping everywhere. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me at the time. Now I have proof that this does in fact happen.

  • Jo

    I believe you’re all forgetting that the null hypothesis in this kind of situation is paranormal phenomena. Or perhaps extraterrestrials. Until you have evidence supporting your ‘waterspout’ theory, we must continue to assume that this is true.

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  • Alias Undercover

    QUASAR is fun at parties, I bet…

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  • anon

    no photos???

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  • The Doctor [412/724/301/703]


    Nobody said anything about paranormal. It’s just weird.

  • Pingback: Weird Science Roundup: Wallabies on Drugs, Microsoft Lawsuits, and Predatory Nymphs | Discoblog | Discover Magazine()

  • rich

    We (city of Jacksonville, Florida) just had a tornado turned into a waterspout on Friday June 26th. As I was explaining how water spouts often draw water up into the atmosphere.
    It reminded of a story many years ago my uncle a fishing captain told me and I assumed it was another fish tale of how he saw a water spout about fifty yards off the bow of his trawler. And shortly afterward it drew back up in top the clouds and started to rain fish. After reading this report; I thought maybe it wasn’t another fish tale after all.

  • Brian

    The skeptic in me says maybe. Maybe this is a genuine meteorological phenomenon.

    On the other hand, imagine a practical joker. What a great gag it would be to mess with people, raining fish, signs of the apocalypse, crazy climate changing weather, etc. All it would take is a trip to a store, 20 bucks, a couple of buckets of water, and presto, newspaper headlines!

    I’m just sayin’.

  • Pingback: Weird Tube-Shaped Clouds Floating Above Australia | Discoblog | Discover Magazine()

  • Nerd_Revenge

    Or, college students with a potato gun, launching stuff into the sky.


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