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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sky 'rains tadpoles' over Japan

The sky has been raining tadpoles over a coastal region in Japan, according to reports.

Residents, officials and scientists have been baffled by the apparent downpour of tadpoles in central Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture.

Clouds of dead tadpoles appear to have fallen from the sky in a series of episodes in a number of cities in the region since the start of the month.

In one incident, a 55-year-old man who was caught in a tadpole downpour described hearing a strange sound in the parking lot of a civic centre in the city of Nanao.

Upon further exploration, he found more than 100 dead tadpoles covering the windshields of cars in an area measuring 10 square metres.

Dead tadpole downpours were also reported by local officials 48 hours later in the city of Hakusan in the same prefecture.

The raining down of small creatures such as frogs and fish is a rare meteorological phenomenon that is reported from time to time across the world.

Scientists have widely attributed the surreal raining of animals to strong winds, storms and water sprouts sucking up creatures before depositing them further inland.

However, this explanation has not satisfied meteorologists in the Ishikawa region.

Officials at Kanazawa Local Meteorological Observatory told local media that they were unsure how the tadpoles had arrived as there had been no reports of strong winds at the time.

Another scientific explanation for raining animals relates to birds carrying the small creatures before dropping them as they fly overland.

However, dismissing this theory, a researcher at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology in Abiko told Kyodo news: "Crows eat tadpoles but if these were spat out (by the birds), a wider area should have been covered."