Our brains come up with strange and wild fantasies. Cultures all over the world are littered with stories of mythical beasts, crazy monsters, and supernatural creatures with terrifying powers. And while most of those live solely in legends of the distant past, some have persisted through the ages. Blurry "evidence" of Bigfoot seems to resurface every so often, every visitor to Scotland's famous Loch Ness hopes to catch a glimpse of the fabled sea monster, Nessie, and livestock farmers all over the Americas are continually on the watch for the bloodthirsty chupacabras, which reportedly feast on goats and other domesticated animals. Not to mention the Yeti of the Nepali folklore, Canada's own version of the Loch Ness monster, Ogopogo, or the Jersey Devil which gave the NHL hockey team its name.
However, modern legends such as sasquatches, giant sea snakes, and other cryptids have never been proven. As far as anyone can say for sure, they don't really exist. And it seems strange that so many people are so obsessed with creatures which are probably nothing more than the result a few peoples' overactive imaginations when there are so many bizarre, real-life occurrences to explore. Every year there are dozens of stories of inexplicable animal behavior and incidents that deserve more attention than the general public gives them. From animals falling from the sky to deadly attacks on human beings to toads that straight up explode, there is plenty of crazy stuff happening all over the world. Here are 15 of the craziest animal events we could find.
15 Thousands of Dead Herring Appear, and Disappear From Beach
This might sound like a really strange magic trick or a morbid practical joke, but as far as anyone can tell, no human intervention was involved in the phenomenon. On December 31st, 2011, on a beach in Norway, thousands upon thousands of dead herring washed ashore. Fortunately for nearby residents, it was the middle of winter and super cold outside, which prevented the fishy carcasses from stinking the place up too badly. And no one had a good explanation for the mass beaching, other than perhaps the fish heard that there was a really great New Year's Eve party there and they decided to check it out, forgetting that they can't breathe out of water.
And it gets weirder. The very next day the fish disappeared. The most likely explanation is that the tides washed them all back out to sea, but seafood-loving aliens is a possibility that we are not willing discount just yet.
14 Raining Frogs in Serbia
As far as we are concerned, the most plausible explanation for frogs falling out of the sky is that the world is ending. Seriously. If you're hanging out on an otherwise normal day and all of sudden you're being pelted by frogs from the heavens, you can't tell us you wouldn't immediately assume that the apocalypse was nigh. And if your parents ever forced you to attend Sunday School as a child, then you know that frogs are one of the plagues that Moses brought down on the Egyptians. It comes right after he turns the Nile into blood. And when you put anything, including frogs, into the same category as water turning into blood, it is automatically an end of the world scenario.
In 2007 in Serbia, it actually happened. One of the residents thought a plane full of frogs exploded midair. Scientists claim that a waterspout likely sucked frogs up out of a lake or a pond and then dumped them on the poor Serbians a little while later, but we're still pretty sure it was an early sign that we're all doomed.
13 The Beast of Bodmin Moor
The Beast of Bodmin Moor is one of the many legendary creatures that lurks in the shadows around the globe. Unlike Bigfoot or the Mothman, however, this evidence for this beast is much more grounded in reality. For several decades there have been reports of large, wild cats stalking prey in Cornwall, England, specifically around Bodmin Moor. While big cats, such as mountain lions and jaguars, are relatively common in North America, as are smaller wild cats, like the lynx and the bobcat, no such cats are native to England, making the Beast of Bodmin Moor especially nerve-wracking. Slaughtered livestock, dozens of eyewitness accounts, a large cat skull found by a young boy, and even photographic evidence support the claim that something is out there, but nothing has ever been officially proven. Stories of escaped zoo creatures and pumas set free from the circus have provided some possible explanations, but the mystery still remains unsolved.
12 Hundreds of Starving Sea Lion Pups in California
Get out the tissues. This is a sad one. For the past couple of years, an unprecedented number of malnourished sea lion pups have been washing up on the shores of California and officials have been working overtime to rescue them. Unfortunately, they can't keep up. They are simply overwhelmed by the shocking quantity of starving baby sea lions showing up on the West Coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) even issued a statement back in 2015, advising people to call the authorities if they found a stranded pup in the sand, but not to expect anyone to show up for a good long while.
There are a few theories as to why this is happening, most of which focus on environmental changes. There is a strong possibility that since the ocean's temperature has been increasing, it is disrupting the food chain, forcing mother sea lions to abandon their offspring at a young age. The prematurely weaned pups are unable to properly take care of themselves and end up washed ashore. Since biology is such a complex science, it is hard to say for sure if that is exactly the situation, but regardless of the specifics, dying sea lion pups are yet another bit of evidence that the Earth's climate is changing— and not for the better.
11 Bizarre Cattle Mutilations Across the US
Reports of freakishly mutilated cattle have popped up in the United States since the 1960s, and before you write them off as an act of natural predators, like wolves or coyotes, consider the absolutely bizarre details. Often, the cows' carcasses are found more or less intact, although completely drained of blood, and without a trace of blood in the surrounding area, making anyone who has ever seen a vampire movie wonder if a sparkly Robert Pattinson, or a less sparkly Gary Oldman, is hiding in the woods nearby. Not only that, but there are reports of eyes, reproductive organs, lips, and tongues being cut out with great precision, as though a surgeon removed those body parts with a scalpel. We're no experts on the subject, but we are pretty sure wolves don't do that.
So what is the cause? Some have speculated that a secret agency is monitoring the nation's cattle in order to prevent another outbreak of Mad Cow Disease. Others, of course, blame it on extraterrestrials. Extraterrestrials who really love cow eyeballs.
10 Raining Spiders in Australia
Oh my god. This is horrifying. Raining spiders. Ew. It's enough to give us nightmares, and we didn't even live through it. In 2012, in a region of southern Australia with an appropriately Australian name, Wagga Wagga, millions of tiny spiders fell out of the sky. Millions. And to make an already stomach-turning situation even worse, they covered the land with their sticky, disgusting webs. It was like an enormous blanket made up of demon souls and the living embodiment of your worst fears.
To hell with nightmares, we're just never sleeping— or going outside, for that matter— ever again.
No one is entirely sure why this happens, but apparently the little eight-legged bastards use their silky strands to catch a ride on the wind. Millions of creepy hang gliders, just hanging out in the sky, and then dropping onto the countryside of a bunch of poor, unsuspecting Australians. Ew. Australia is officially off our travel itinerary.
9 Exploding Toads in Germany
Yes, there are toads that explode. More specifically, there are German toads that explode and the apparent reason for the erupting amphibians is pretty freaking odd. Around a pond in the city of Hamburg, Germany (yes, Hamburg as in hamburger), the corpses of roughly a thousand blown up toads were found by the city's citizens. The few people who had seen some of the detonating deaths firsthand described the toads as expanding to about three times their normal size and then bursting like an intestine-filled balloon. Which is super gross. And also super concerning. Normally, healthy animals don't suddenly blow up. Initially, some people were worried that the toads had become infected with some sort of virus, especially after the phenomenon began to spread.
After examining the toads' bodies, an expert seemingly discovered what the hell was going on. Toads have poisonous skin, so most predators avoid chomping down on them. The crows in the region, however, figured out how to pick out the toads' livers, which are quite nutritious, without immediately killing the toads and without being poisoned by their skin. Because it is a quick attack, the toad doesn't initially realize what is happening. When it does, it puffs out as a natural defense mechanism, but without its liver, the other organs have nothing keeping them in position, and everything bursts open. Which is disgusting and kind of fascinating.
8 Thousands of Birds Die on New Year's Eve in Arkansas... Twice
Not long before midnight on December 31st, 2010, more than three thousand birds were found dead in a one mile area of Beebe, Arkansas. Which is weird, right? You know what makes it a million times weirder? When the exact same thing happens the very next year. On December 31st, 2011, exactly one year after the first incident, the reports came in again: hundreds of dead birds were falling out of the sky in Beebe. The body count that year was reported to be upwards of five thousand. The prevailing theory for the consecutive New Year's Eve die-offs is that it has something to do with the festive fireworks one of Beene's residents was setting off, which may have scared the birds enough for them to fly around chaotically, running into buildings and each other. However, other theories, such as a freak lightning strike or high-altitude hail, have been circulated as possible explanations.
7 Puppies Survive Without Food & Water for 25 Days
In a list about animals, you need to have at least one cute entry and this is it. Back in October, workers at a factory in Chennai, India opened up a shopping container and were surprised to find two tiny (and adorable) puppies hiding inside amidst a bunch of spare parts they had ordered from China. Somehow, the pair of pups had been accidentally sealed inside before the container made its 3,000 kilometer journey from China to India. Miraculously, both dogs survived the 25 day journey without food or water. While the puppies were both dehydrated, starving, and sick, the fact that they both survived at all defies medical science, especially considering they were estimated to be only three months old! The Blue Cross of India animal shelter is hoping to adopt the pair out once they have fully recovered. And who wouldn't want to adopt a couple of miracle puppies?
6 Hundreds of Wolves Form Super Pack in Russia
One wolf is a scary thing. They are fast, strong, and have large, sharp teeth which they are more than willing to sink into your soft human flesh. A pack of wolves is even scarier. A typical wolf pack consists of six or seven of those sharp-toothed canines, organized and intelligent, and able to hunt down almost anything. A wolf super pack is both unusual and way beyond scary. The word "scary" doesn't even begin to describe a group of carnivorous, oversized dogs that totals over four hundred. But that's exactly what the residents of a remote region of Russia's Siberia had to deal with in 2012 and 2013. Since wolves normally hunt in much smaller groups, a pack of that size is cause for extreme worry. Naturalists have theorized that a cataclysmic decline in the wolves' food supply is to blame, specifically a shortage of blue hares, one of the wolves' most common food sources. As a result, local authorities were forced to engage in a battle against the super pack, for while no humans had been attacked, the region's livestock was hurt substantially, with over sixteen thousand reindeer being slaughtered in 2012.
5 Roosevelt Finds New Deer Species... Same Deer Discovered 85 Years Later?
Most of the entries on this list are either frightening or depressing: raining spiders, ghostly cougars, and starving sea lion pups. But this one is a nice change of pace.
Roosevelt's barking deer, also known as Roosevelt's muntjac, is an extremely rare species of deer, first discovered in Lao by President Theodore Roosevelt's sons, Kermit and Theodore Jr., back in 1929. Strangely, it was never seen again and was assumed to be extinct. Some people doubted that Roosevelt's barking deer was its own species until DNA testing of muntjac skulls in 1999 confirmed its unique genetic make-up.
85 years later, camera traps in Vietnam's Xuan Lien Nature Reserve snapped photographs of two deer thought to be Roosevelt's muntjacs. Scientists collected horn, skin, and fecal samples from the location and compared their DNA to that of the 1929 specimens and found them to be a match, proving that Roosevelt's barking deer was still alive.
4 Raining Fish in England
This list definitely has a lot of animals raining down from the sky. We would apologize, but it is just too weird of a phenomenon not to explore thoroughly. There might not be a literal account of it raining cats and dogs (or of it raining men, much to the chagrin of the Weather Girls), but apparently it can rain spiders in Australia, birds in Arkansas, frogs in Serbia... and now fish in England.
On Sunday, August 6th, 2000, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, tiny two-inch fish, known as sprats, came cascading out of the clouds. With Great Yarmouth's long history as a major fishing port, the scaly thunderstorm deposit could be seen as something of a gift from the gods— instead of the fishermen going out to sea to catch the fish, the fish came to them! And the fishermen aren't the only ones who benefited. According to the residents, the local cats also enjoyed themselves, feasting on the still fresh fish scattered all over the village.
3 The Bristol Crocodile
It appears that England has its fair share of bizarre animal events, ranging from mysterious cougars to fish falling from the sky. Well, you can add a crocodile into the mix. For the last several years, residents in the Bristol area have reported the sighting of a crocodile, typically in the River Avon, but not exclusively. Authorities from the Bristol area say that the crocodile, if it exists, would have had to have escaped or been set free, and while they have been searching, the dangerous river beast has not yet been found. Which could be a result of it not actually existing. In theory, crocodiles could survive the frigid river waters of the United Kingdom, but experts say they would be unable to thrive. An alligator, they say, would be better off. So maybe it's the Bristol Alligator. Does anyone who isn't either a marine biologist or Steve Irwin really know the difference between a crocodile and an alligator anyway?
2 Unknown Beast Terrorizes People of Malawi
We know, we know, the Malawi Terror Beast sounds like one of those really awful, low-budget monster movies you find in the dark corners of Netflix's library. And maybe someday it will be, once a budding filmmaker stumbles across this true story and turns it into a crappy horror flick with bad acting and even worse CGI.
But for now, it's the very real and very unknown beast that terrorized a group of villages in the mountains of Malawi back in 2003. Three people were killed and another sixteen were horrifically maimed and disfigured until the creature dropped off the radar. It was never caught, killed, or definitively identified. Local authorities suggested that it could be a rabid hyena, but its behavior and strength was unusual for such an animal. Some of the villagers believe it was something supernatural, like a hyena that was killed and then resurrected to exact revenge on the humans who put it down.
1 The Cotswolds Big Cat
The legend behind the Cotswolds Big Cat, also known as the Wild Cat of Woodchester, is a similar tale to the Beast of Bodmin Moor. Since big cats such as lions, cougars, and the like are not native to the United Kingdom, those uptight Brits freak the hell out as soon as there is even the slightest bit of evidence suggesting that one is loose in the countryside, even when no human has received so much as a scratch from the alleged giant kitten.
In the Cotswolds area, multiple deer killings have lead the locals to believe that a predatory big cat is on the loose. The dead deer show all the signs of being attacked by a puma, jaguar, or something similar, according to experts, and numerous sightings in the past few years have only increased the public's fear of a ferocious feline (or felines) prowling about the area.