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lamprey

Over the past few weeks, it's been raining lamprey eels over Fairbanks, Alaska. Hallelujah? Hardly. Some strange things occasionally happen in Alaska like alien abductions in Nome or a moose trotting through stores in Juno; however, even for Alaskans, eels raining from the sky are strange, particularly because lampreys aren't usually found in the water off Fairbanks.

The foot-long eels have been found in shopping center parking lots and lawns all over the city, leaving residents unnerved by the odd toothed leech-like fish. This phenomenon of small animals (like worms, fish or frogs) falling from the sky has been reported for centuries around the globe. Usually waterspouts, or tornados that form over water, pick up water debris, including animals and carry them for miles before raining down on land. There have been no reports of tornadoes around Fairbanks and lampreys are more common down south in the North Atlantic United States.

Some thought it was a baffling prank by someone who happened upon a lot of lampreys and didn't feel like making lamprey pie. However, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggest they were dropped from the air by seagulls. These sea birds often pick up small fish like lamprey, but they don't dine on them on the spot. Sometimes they fly long distances with their lunch, and sometimes their lunch gets away from them. Unless the person is specifically watching the seagull, when it drops its prey, it will appear as if it fell from the sky without any apparent origin.

Only a handful of lampreys have been found in Fairbanks over the course of the past few weeks, which is hardly a deluge. However, these unnerving and creepy looking fish are so rarely seen up close that it is still having a creeped out effect on the general populace. The only thing this odd occurrence does suggest is that there may be a strange amount of lampreys off the coast of Fairbanks, which means whales, sharks or other big fish on which the lamprey leech onto may be moving through.

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