Weird Science: ‘Fish rain’ in Agusan del Sur

This post was most recently updated on June 1st, 2018

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We’re all familiar with ice cubes falling from the sky–not a shocker at all.

But living things pouring from above? Now that’s when Mother Nature gets a little bizarre.

So we can just imagine how stunned the people from Loreto town in Agusan del Sur after they saw dozens of 3-inch-long mud fish falling from the sky on January of 2012. Netizens and television viewers were equally shocked, giving rise to various explanations ranging from biblical to scientific.

But superstitions aside, does ‘fish rain’ or ‘animal rain’ considered a natural phenomenon or just a coincidence sensationalized by the mass media?

 

Natural or Supernatural?

Engr. Lolit Binalay, chief of PAGASA-Butuan, assured people that the ‘fish rain’, although rare, is a sheer natural phenomenon.

In fact, the same event had been reported in Lake Mainit, Agusan del Norte the previous year. Binalay also added that fish rain normally occurs when Cumulo-Nimbus cloud initiates the formation of  waterspout, a type of above-water tornado which can suck large bodies of water–including fish and other sea creatures living within.

 

Fish rain, also known scientifically as Lluvia de Peces, is a bizarre occurrence that has been reported around the world for centuries. Some of the most notable animal rains in recent years happened in a village in Powys, Wales in 2004; Folsom, California in 2006; and Lajamanu, Australia in 2010 where hundreds of live spangled perch fell directly from the sky.

 

What goes up must come down

Even with a whirlwind phenomenon to explain the event, some residents of Loreto, Agusan del Sur still refused to believe. For one, the closest shore in their area is located 60 kilometers away so to  make the animal rain possible, dozens of fish had to travel by air.

But American scientist Nilton Renno has his own explanation to this. In his statement in Scienceline.org , Renno revealed that sea creatures may remain suspended in the air until the wind is weak enough to give them up. He added that “even if the waterspout stops spinning, the fish in the cloud can be carried over land, buffeted up and down and around.”

These fish could either be dead or alive upon falling depending on how long or how high they were held up in the sky.

It’s also interesting to note that fish is not the only animal that could possibly fall from the sky. Other disturbing cases of animal rain include those of frogs, snakes, birds, alligators, mice, jellyfish, and even “flesh and blood” freely falling from the sky.

Weird as it may seem, animal rain is nature’s way of reminding us that ‘what goes up must come down’–a nugget of wisdom that works both in nature and real life.

Photo credit: BBC