back to Who is Dumping All that Stuff on Our Heads?

Rain of lizards

Although the newspaper articles use the word lizards, I think they actually refer to salamanders, as in the showers of Alameda and Sacramento they use the term 'water lizards' as slang for salamanders.


Shower of Lizards.— The Le Roy (N. Y.) Gazette says that during the heavy rain on Sunday night last, live lizards, some of them measuring four inches in length, came from the clouds like manna, though neither as plenty nor half as welcome. They were found crawling on the sidewalks and in the streets like fugitive infantile alligators, in places far removed from localities where they inhabit.

 Source:  Lewistown Gazette (Lewistown, Pennsylvania), 19 Nov. 1857, page 2 and Sunbury American (Sunbury, Pennsylvania), 21 Nov. 1857, page 2 and The Western Democrat (Charlotte, North Carolina), 24 Nov. 1857, page 2


Was it a Shower of Frogs? In the town of Coventry, the other day, a road was shoveled through snow from four to six feet deep a distance of 40 rods, and, the next morning, the road was strewn with frogs and lizards, there probably being two bushels at least. It Is a mystery where they came from. One theory Is that a nest where they were wintering was stirred up. Some, however, think there was a shower or frogs the night before, as it rained quite heavily. If the former theory is correct, the reptiles must have been wintering In the snow, as the workmen did not shovel in any place to within a foot of the earth. The occurrence presents question for the curious to solve.

 Source: Vermont Phśnix (Brattleboro, Vermont), 19 May 1876, front page


A RAIN OF FISH. Jamestown Alert: R. E. Wallace and son took five barrels of different kind of fish from the water holes along side the road near the Mutz school last week and put the young fish in Spirit wood lake. Several of the varieties were sent to the fish commissioner at Washington, with an account .of the circumstances. It is supposed that the young fish rained down as no other means of propagation are known to have been used. There are said to be millions of the fish left in the little slough. While the superintendent, in charge of the government fish car, was here last year he stated that there was no doubt that young fish, frogs and lizards were deposited in rain fall.

 Source: Bismarck Saily Tribune (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]), 20 Aug. 1902, page 3


Down at Harrodsburg last Thursday during a shower of rain, a lot of small red lizards fell, so says the Herald. If it were not that we know it is in dry territory, we would inquire what brand they were drinking down there.

Source: The Central Record (Lancaster, Kentucky), 01 Sept. 1911, front page


IT RAINED LIZARDS OVER IN ALAMEDA. ALAMEDA, March 24.— The old story anent the storm when it "rained cats and dogs" has been discounted in Alameda. Police Sergeant Albert Kamp is responsible for the statement that it actually rained lizards at an early hour this morning. The lizards that came from the sky, as Mr. Kamp firmly believes, are of the salamander variety, of pinkish color, unable to navigate on land and commonly known as a water lizard. Mr. Kamp noticed a number of these little reptiles on his way to the city Hall this morning and was somewhat astonished at the unusual occurrence, as he passed down Oak street and when opposite the prison he felt something strike his hat with considerable force and saw one of the salamanders bound off to the sidewalk. He looked heavenward to see if some one was playing a prank on him, but there was nothing above him but dark clouds. While he was still gazing skyward another lizard struck on his face and fell to the ground and then the police sergeant was firmly convinced that he was in a shower of salamanders. "I have seen lots of these things in mountain streams," said Mr. Kamp, but never saw them around Alameda in such numbers before. I can't help but think the pair that struck me came from the clouds, as l am sure there  was no place else for them to come from under the circumstances." Mr. Kamp has saved one of the lizards and will preserve it as a curiosity.

Source: The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California), 25 March 1899, page 10


RAINED LIVE LIZARDS. Shower of Curious Reptiles Frighten Belated Denverites. It rained "cats and dogs" in Denver Tuesday night, as the grandmothers and maiden aunts put it. It did more, says the Denver News. It rained slimy reptiles of the lizard family, that gave sober men the chills to look upon, and sobered up the inebriated ones like a thousand Keeley cures condensed into one magnetic injection. They scampered over the asphalt pavements, these reptiles, looking like baby crocodiles. In the darkness nobody dared touch them; nobody knew what they were. They had just rained down  apparently. On Seventeenth street several dozen of them rained down, apparently. Near the Brown Palace hotel one of them was driven into the gutter with the tip of an umbrella handle, and finally edged along until it was made prisoner in a big-mouthed quart bottle. Under the light it proved a most repulsive looking object. It Is about eight inches long  with four very active legs. It belongs to the lizard family. Its body is black, with regular markings of cream white. Its head is broad and flat, the nostrils wide apart, the mouth broad and sot under. Its eyes are like beads and seem set upon instead of n the head, the whole eyeball being apparently exposed. It rears his head upon a flexible neck  much like a snake. The specimen brought to the News office was very quick in noticing every movement made about it, and seemed ready for attack in its glass cage. Clearly, everything was now in its surroundings. It was been shortly before midnight. The smooth asphalt, wet with the rain, glistened under the electric lights, and over it darted the reptiles, making black streaks with their swiftly moving bodies that at once attracted the eye. Some disappeared in the cable slots; others darted over them and back and forth in a bewildered sort of way, as if out of their element. They were. They had just rained down, apparently. Late wayfarers gazed in astonishment. Men who abhor snakes and the like turned away without an attempt to inspect the reptiles closely. Men who court snakes and all sorts of strange creatures baited blindly , with the firm conviction that they had 'em at last. Others avoided the dark places, afraid of stepping on one of the scurrying reptiles. Nobody knew it they had a sting, if they could bite, it they were poisonous. How could they? They had just ruined down, apparently. Else how the sudden appearance of these reptiles upon the asphalt paved streets to be accounted for? There was an an usually heavy shower soon after 11 o'clock, and t had scarcely ceased when the reptiles were observed. How many there were it would be hard to estimate, even in the three blocks between the Albany and the Brown, while other sections of the city may have had a similar visitation. But, however they came, they were present in the life. The specimen captured for the News was as lively as a cricket at 3 o'clock next morning , but no one has been found sufficiently courageous to release it from the big bottle for a closer study of what sort of reptile it is.

Source: Omaha Daily Bee. (Omaha Nebraska), 25 July 1894, page 3


Louisville...It is said that a number of young lizards fell in the rain of yesterday.

Source: The Cincinnati Daily Star (Cincinnati, Ohio), 08 Sept. 1879, front page


It Rained Lizards. Kanlotus, Washington. July 29 - During a shower yesterday afternoon a great many small lizards, or water dogs, were noticed on the side walks and in the streets. They may not have "rained down" as they have appeared to have done, but they were so numerous that over 80 were collected in front of one building. Source: The Seattle Star. (Seattle, Washington), 29 July 1909, page 10


On Saturday evening our town was visited by the first rain which has fallen for three months. It seemed, since the 1st of May, that the "dry season" of the early years had returned, and that we were again to have summers without a drop of rain. The rain, however, though grateful and welcome, was not much of a surprise; but connected with it was a phenomenon without precedent in this section, unexplained by any of our philosophers, nothing more nor less than a shower of water-lizards. Over all the western part of the town, particularly around the Opera House, they were found in great numbers and of every length from two to eight inches. In looking over the ground to-day we found a number already quite dried up: and we note with surprise that there is so little substance in them as to leave nothing more than a mere skeleton. The greatest number seem to have fallen on Judge Spicer's premises. His cellar, lately dug, previously dry as a powder-house, contained several inches of water literally alive with these singular creatures. The Judge fished up some forty of the largest ones, and now has them alive in a water-tank near his house, where the curious may inspect them. On examination we found, them to have boneless limbs, and bodies very soft and "mushy;" they are quite lively in the water, but soon gel dry, dull, and inactive when laid out on the ground. They more nearly resemble the reptile known in the Northwest as the "mud-puppy" than any other we have seen. Their color is a dull brown, with bright spots, and their general make-up in other respects places them in the siredom class. The usual theory of "toad showers" is that the numerous toads seen after a sudden rain were really in the ground and were drawn out by the moisture; but that explanation is cut off in this case by two facts: First. That these are clearly water reptiles and die in a few minutes on dry land. Second. The ground has been so hard and dry that soft bodied reptiles could not have penetrated it. The walls of Judge Spicer's cellar on Saturday afternoon were as solid almost as a brick wall. Another singular fact is that numbers of the reptiles were found in the rain barrel, where they could not have crawled. One gentleman informs us that he counted two hundred in a small puddle on Colorado street. We noticed the dried remains of one which was seven inches in length, yet would not weigh an ounce. We give merely the facts, and so far are without any theory on the matter. But our local savans are busy, and by to-morrow we shall doubtless have a dozen explanations.

Source: The Utah Weekly Reporter, (Corinne, Utah), August 6, 1870