Frog Rain: When Frogs Fall From The Sky

For centuries, people have been baffled by the sudden downpour of various animals, and frog rain is amongst the most mysterious natural occurrences to date. While it’s undeniably perplexing, this natural spectacle has taken place numerous times throughout history and in various locations.

Frog rain is strange but not scientifically impossible. Generally, frogs weigh only a few ounces, and they sometimes get swept up by waterspouts, strong winds, and other harsh weather conditions, and then fall from the sky once the pressure drops, frequently accompanied by rain. 

Believe it or not, frog rain has happened many times. People have linked these occurrences to several theories, ranging from folklore and superstition to scientific and natural phenomena. Join us as we discuss frogs falling from the sky and unravel some of the most plausible frog rain theories. 

When & Where Did Frogs Fall From the Sky?

There have been many occasions where various frog species have suddenly started falling from the sky. The phenomenon has been documented several times throughout history, occurring in a wide range of geographical locations. 

While frog rain has occurred for centuries, we only have a select number of documented cases throughout history. The earliest records date back to the first century AD in Japan, Serbia, Uruguay, and Hungary. In recent years, it seems that the United States and Britain have been the most susceptible to this phenomenon.

YearLocationDescription
1873Kansas CityReports stated that numerous frogs fell from the sky without any known reason.
1882IowaFrogs fell from the sky in Dubuque, Iowa.
1921LondonSmall frogs appeared in the sky during a thunderstorm, which took place in the northern part of London.
1921Calgary, CanadaFrogs fell from the sky to the delight of neighborhood cats that ate them up like candy.
1954Sutton ParkThousands of frogs fell from the sky on a rainy day, witnessed by those attending the Royal Navy display in Meadow Platt.
1987Stroud and CirencesterAccording to onlookers, these areas experienced frog rain on two separate occasions within a span of two weeks. They fell from the sky in the hundreds and were described as ‘tiny rose-colored’ amphibians. 
1998CroydonEarly morning showers were accompanied by hundreds of frogs. Unfortunately, the frogs were already deceased in this case.
2005SerbiaAccording to reports, thousands of tiny frogs rained from the sky in Odzaci, Serbia. There were strong winds at the time of the occurrence, which most locals used as an explanation.

Many other reports have been made, but scientists are skeptical. In many cases, other influences may have given the appearance of frog rain, or the reliability of second-hand sources did not prove to be conclusive enough for documentation. 

Why Do Frogs Fall From the Sky?

As a general rule, frogs fall from the sky due to updrafts, waterspouts, tornadoes, and windstorms. Although folklore and religion called it an Act of God, the scientific explanation is based on weather conditions. Frogs are scooped up by the wind and fall with rain once the pressure drops.

Knowing that frog rain is no myth does not make it less perplexing. But, there have been numerous logical and scientific explanations for this phenomenon over the years, with some gaining more traction than others.

Updrafts

Updrafts could lift small frogs off of the ground and carry them in the air. The primary motive for this theory is that updrafts can lift debris and light matter, carrying them for substantial distances in any given direction.

Extreme Weather

The same could be said for waterspouts, tornadoes, hurricanes, or any other extreme weather event. The object being carried would theoretically be able to travel as far as its weight would allow. In a tornado debris study, printed photographs traveled around 200 miles, whereas a metal sign traveled approximately 50 miles and landed in the next state.

Why Do Frogs Fall From The Sky And Not Other Animals?

Some scientists have noted that the uniformity of the deposition is fairly strange. Based on the discussed theories, the primary motive for frogs being lifted into the air concerns their weight. Of course, many other animals may fit the weight category, which brings questions as to why only frogs would fall from the sky.

William Hayden Smith of Washington University proposed that even if multiple animals were picked up by the weather, the deposition of the animals would be split depending on weight. The heavier animals would fall first, continuing until the lightest animals fell from the sky.

Thus, it would make sense why all frogs would fall together, followed by other debris, objects, or animals falling from the sky on separate occasions. This is plausible since the reported frogs have been notably similar in physical characteristics on each occasion, particularly regarding their weight. 

Still, many questions surround this explanation. Many scientists believe that the answer is far too simple for such a complex phenomenon. There are missing variables within the equation, such as why neighboring debris appears to have been left behind or which natural habitat the frogs were lifted from in the first place. 

Each case is unique, bringing endless variables and differentiations to compare. There are still many questions, and the rarity of frog rain makes it incredibly challenging to investigate and solve completely. 

The Lack of Eyewitnesses to Frog Rain

Eyewitnesses have claimed to have experienced frog rain for decades. At first, scientists and researchers scoffed at the idea. However, the phenomenon was hard to argue with increasing reports, and scientists eventually got around to genuinely investigating the potential causes (CTNF).

However, the lack of eyewitness reports is understandable. When faced with weather strong enough to lift frogs into the air, few people would prioritize getting a glimpse of this phenomenon over their own safety.  

Do Frogs Survive Frog Rain?

In most cases, the frogs that fell from the sky survived. Of course, they were traumatized and shaken, in desperate need of water and a fresh meal. Sadly, some instances resulted in the frogs being eaten by predators, squished on roads, or not surviving the drop from the sky.

The chances of survival are influenced by the distance of travel, the drop to the ground, and many other factors. The frogs that have fallen from the sky have mostly been common and non-toxic frogs, making it easy for onlookers to rescue survivors. Although, the frogs have managed to take care of themselves in many instances, quickly hopping off in frantic search of their native water source. 

More About Frogs

While it’s true that humans have little to no control over these occurrences, it’s still devastatingly tragic to know that frogs could be harmed or killed in the thousands during these events. Thankfully, frog rain is a rare phenomenon, and many frogs have managed to somehow survive after their lengthy flights.

Check out these other articles on our blog for more fun frog content:

Common Questions About Frog Rain

What is frog rain? Frog rain is a phenomenon when frogs rain from the sky after being swept up in updrafts, waterspouts, tornadoes, or windstorms. Frogs can be scooped up by the wind in severe weather conditions and fall with rain once the pressure drops.

Is it possible to rain frogs? It is possible to “rain frogs” when certain weather conditions are met. Frogs may be scooped up in severe weather and strong wind gusts including updrafts, waterspouts, tornadoes, or windstorms, and may fall from the sky accompanied by rain once the atmospheric pressure drops.

Did it rain frogs in Kansas City? It rained frogs in 1873 in Kansas City and at the time there were no known reasons as to why it happened. Kansas is known for its tornadoes and strong wind gusts so there is a strong possibility that the frogs were lifted into the sky during severe weather conditions and fell in Kansas City.

Sources 

Sarah Zielinski, Smithsonian Mag, Strange Rain: Why Fish, Frogs and Golf Balls Fall From the Skies, September 8, 2015

Raining Frogs & Fish: A Whirlwind of Theories

Library of Congress, Can it rain frogs, fish, and other objects?

Global News, The Day it Rained Frogs in Calgary

Stroud News And Journal, Remember When Pink Frogs Rained

Eden UKTV, Weird Weather

Daniella Master Herpetologist

Daniella is a Master Herpetologist and the founder of toadsnfrogs.com, a website dedicated to educating the general population on frogs by meeting them where they are in their online Google Search. Daniella is passionate about frogs and put her digital marketing skills and teaching experience to good use by creating these helpful resources to encourage better education, understanding, and care for frogs.