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Pigs don’t fly but it does rain frogs

Mayrung woman Tarria Moore's photo has captured the attention of herperology scientists around the world.

April 1, 2014 4:35am

A photo published by the Pastoral Times on Friday has captured the attention of herpetology scientists around the world and may confirm the arrival of a rare phenomena in Australia.

Mayrung mum and professional photographer Tarria Moore sent us these amazing images of the hundreds of frogs that had gathered in the farming family’s swimming pool after Wednesday’s downpour.

The Pastoral Times and several of our readers were curious as to how and why this frog-fest occurred.

A phone call to the Murray Catchment Management Authority led us to the Institute of Herpetology in Brazil (herpetology being a branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians).

We emailed the photos and details to the Institute and received a phone call this morning from leading herpetologist, Dr Yrots Llat, who was amazed and excited by the images from the Moore family’s Mayrung farm.

‘‘This could be explained by something we’ve seen on the very rare occasion here in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a phenomena we call Amphibias Accumulus. This generally occurs with a rain event after hot, dry spells of weather. Typically the dry spell has come a year or two after a wet year.

‘‘Because amphibians are made up of more than 90 per cent water, basically tiny frogs can evaporate with water into low-level cumulus clouds.

‘‘They stay there living on insects and gaining minimum weight until the cloud clashes with heavy storm clouds and the frogs drop to the ground in great numbers ... it’s quite remarkable really.’’

Dr Llat said he had a quick study online of the weather pattern around the Mayrung/Blighty area leading up to the event.

He said it was consistent with weather leading up to similar events in Brazil and other countries taken in by the Amazon.

The herpetologist was also interested to learn of the rice bays on local farms.

‘‘I’d think this is where the majority of the frogs would have come from.

‘‘If you’ve got a river in your town you may have noticed storm clouds can sometimes follow a river.

‘‘I’d suggest some low-level cumulus clouds have gathered over some rice bays in the area and then dumped the frogs a month or so later, it just so happened they found a family’s backyard swimming pool.

‘‘I admit, it is a rare occurrence but this seems like the only logical explanation. Hundreds of frogs don’t just suddenly decide to throw a pool party. Something has dumped them there.

‘‘Pigs may not fly, but it definitely does rain frogs.’’

Dr Llat has already sent the photos on to other leading herpetologists around the world and expects a team to visit the area in the coming months.

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