10/26/2011 11:11 am ET Updated Dec 26, 2011

A Touch of Knowledge: Raining Cats and Dogs -- and Frogs

In times of torrential rain, it is quite probable that some feeble-minded fellow or garrulous gentleman searching for small talk will express its volume in terms of cats and dogs. However, such foolish and juvenile hyperbole opens the window to discuss a slimier, jumpier creature that has in fact fallen from the skies. The frog, by several accounts, has in fact rained upon land.

The most recent case of frog rain was in 2005, when thousands of the web-footed creatures descended upon on a Serbian village. Fearful residents thought the world was coming to an end.

Science, however, reared its rational head and offered a more suitable explanation: a whirlwind had simply sucked up the frogs from a nearby body of water and carried them toward the village where they finally fell to the ground.

The frogs occasionally survive such storms. Serbian witnesses said the little amphibians looked startled at first, then returned to their normal behavior. Just like the poor people they landed on.

In July of 1901, Minneapolis, Minnesota, suffered a frog downpour. A newspaper reported: "When the storm was at its highest... there appeared as if descending directly from the sky a huge green mass. Then followed a peculiar patter, unlike that of rain or hail. When the storm abated the people found, three inches deep and covering an area of more than four blocks, a collection of a most striking variety of frogs... so thick in some places [that] travel was impossible."

Whirlwinds are powerful enough to pick up other creatures as well. London received a frog shower in 1998. And in 2004, it rained fish in Wales. Two years later India also got a fish shower.

In 1989, a light shower in Ipswich, Australia sprinkled about 800 sardines on a couple's front lawn.
Worms and squid have also been scooped up and dropped onto unsuspecting homes. But cats and dogs? Nonsense.