Posted by: garispang | June 20, 2009

Mysterious tadpole rain has meteorologists baffled

As rainy season approaches, Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture has been receiving some unusual precipitation — it’s been raining tadpoles.

Raining tadpoles --

According to prefecture officials, tadpoles have reportedly fallen from the sky in two separate towns this month. Although it is not unheard of for waterspouts and strong wind to to pull small fish and animals from water and drop them on land, no foul weather has been observed in the area, leaving residents baffled.

The first reported case of anomalous tadpole rain occurred at about 4:30 PM on June 4 in the town of Nanao. After hearing a strange sound outside the Nakajima Civic Center, witnesses discovered approximately 100 dead tadpoles in a 300 square meter area in and around the parking lot. The tadpoles measured 2 to 3 centimeters long.

Raining tadpoles --
Tadpoles on car windshield outside Nakajima Civic Center

Dozens more tadpoles reportedly fell on the nearby town of Hakusan in the early morning hours of June 6, according to local officials. One 75-year-old resident described finding a handful of tadpoles on the hood of her car at around 7:00 AM. Others were found scattered in nearby yards and parking lots. A strange sound was reportedly heard in the middle of the night, even though no wind or rain was observed.

According to Kanazawa Meteorological Observatory officials, the two towns — which are dotted with rice fields — experienced stable weather during the period in question and the conditions were not favorable for the development of waterspouts.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said one meteorologist. “We have no idea what caused it.”

UPDATE: Asahi is reporting that more freak animal rain may have fallen in Ishikawa prefecture, only this time it is fish.

Raining fish in Japan -- Raining fish in Japan --
Crucian carp believed to have fallen from the sky in Ishikawa prefecture

On the evening of June 9 in the town of Nakanoto located about 15 kilometers from Nanao (where it rained tadpoles on June 4), a number of small fish were found scattered over a residential area. About 10 fish recovered from roadsides and the tops of cars appear to be Crucian carp measuring 3 to 5 centimeters long.

June 13, Iwate prefecture — At about 6:00 PM in the town of Shiwa, a 67-year-old farmer was tending her field when she heard what sounded like hailstones hitting the ground around her. She found 15 tadpole carcasses. The local meteorological agency reported the weather was calm at the time, and a local ornithologist said he found it improbable that birds dropped them.

June 15, Nagano prefecture — In the morning, about 40 tadpole carcasses were found on the premises of an elementary school in the town of Suzaka.

June 15, Hiroshima prefecture — At 8:30 AM in the town of Miyoshi, a 60-year-old resident found the carcasses of 13 tadpoles and one frog scattered in the yard and on the roof of her home. (See photo above.)

June 15, Miyagi prefecture — At about 5:00 PM in the town of Taiwa, a 74-year-old resident heard what sounded like rain outside her home. She stepped outside to find about 50 tadpoles scattered in the yard and on the roof. The tadpoles were wet, but none of them were alive. According to the woman, the sky was clear and there was no wind. She saw no birds in the sky.

Tadpole rain in Japan -- Tadpole rain in Japan --
Left: Miyagi prefecture, June 15 // Right: Iwate prefecture, June 17

June 16, Aichi prefecture — At around 8:00 AM, a 45-year-old company employee was driving through the town of Chiryu on his way to work, when he heard the sound of something pelting the roof of his car. When he arrived at work, he found 25 tadpole carcasses, each about 5 centimeters long, splattered on the top and sides of his vehicle.

Tadpole rain in Japan --
Aichi prefecture, June 16

Some of the tadpoles were bloody and looked as if they had fallen from a great height. According to the man, there were no tall buildings nearby and the sky was clear. “At first I though birds had crapped on my car,” he said. “I was surprised to find tadpoles.”

June 16, Saitama prefecture — At 1:00 PM in the town of Kuki, a 77-year-old man reportedly found over 20 carcasses of tadpoles and small fish in his yard. The man lives about 1 kilometer away from a patch of woods where crows roost. He believes the birds dropped the tadpoles and fish in his yard.

Tadpole rain in Japan --
Saitama prefecture, June 16

June 16, Miyagi prefecture — At around 4:00 PM in the town of Osaki, a 54-year-old resident reportedly found about 20 carcasses of tadpoles and small fish in her yard.

June 17, Iwate prefecture — At 5:00 AM, while walking to his rice field, a 66-year-old farmer in the town of Yahaba heard what sounded like large raindrops hitting the ground around him. He found about 30 tadpole carcasses, each about 3 to 4 centimeters long, on the road. Most of them appeared crushed, as if they had fallen a great distance. He spotted a crow flying in the sky above, but he doubts the bird dropped the tadpoles. He said there was no wind at the time. (See photo above.)

June 17, Fukui prefecture — A 67-year-old resident of the town of Sabae found about 40 tadpole carcasses outside her home in the morning. The tadpoles, which measured about 3 to 4 centimeters long, were moist. Some of them were crushed and bleeding. The weather had been fine, and the woman reportedly heard nothing strange the night before.

Tadpole rain in Japan --
Fukui prefecture, June 17

June 17, Toyama prefecture — At 8:40 AM in the town of Asahi, a 59-year-old company worker found about 30 tadpoles scattered on the road in front of his home. The tadpoles measured about 3 centimeters long and had begun to develop legs. The weather was calm and partly cloudy, making it unlikely they were swept up in a gust of wind. A local biologist says that the tadpoles may have died from dehydration after venturing out from a nearby rice field. The man believes they may have been dropped by crows.

Tadpole rain in Japan --
Toyama prefecture, June 17

June 17, Akita prefecture — At 10:30 AM in the town of Ugo, a 37-year-old candy shop manager found about 70 tadpole carcasses in yards and on the streets near her store. Most of the tadpoles, which measured about 2 to 3 centimeters long, appeared crushed. The shop is located in a residential area near rice fields and a river. She blames birds.

Tadpole rain in Japan --
Akita prefecture, June 17

June 17, Kagoshima prefecture — While taking an evening walk, a 58-year-old company employee in the town of Isa came across about 20 tadpole carcasses in the street. According to the man, there were rice paddies nearby, but the road was dry.

Tadpole rain in Japan --
Tadpole rain, Hiroshima prefecture, June 15

Over the past few weeks, people in Japan have been witnessing tadpoles, fish and frogs fall from the sky. Ever since the strange phenomenon was first observed in Ishikawa prefecture on June 4, reports of animal rain have been pouring in from prefectures across the country.

So far, nobody has come up with a plausible explanation for the animal rain. Although some people believe the tadpole showers may be the result of weather disturbances such as waterspouts, no meteorological agencies have observed strong wind or unstable weather conditions in any of the areas where the rain has occurred. Others believe birds may be spitting up large quantities of tadpoles, although many ornithologists dispute this claim. Still others have suggested it may be the work of human pranksters, or even extraterrestrials.

Here is a brief timeline of the occurrences reported so far. This page will be updated as new reports emerge.

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