Oh You Know, Just Some Giant Pigeon-Hunting Catfish

December 10, 2012


This is a video of pigeon-hunting catfish in the shallows of the River Tarn in Southwestern France. Basically the 1 - 1.5-meter (~3 - 5-foot) long European Catfish throw themselves onto land when they sense a bird nearby, then wriggle themselves back into the water to swallow it. As hard as I tried, no amount of shaking my head while watching the video made them look like mermaids.

Catfish get their name for the long, sensitive whiskers (or 'barbels') on their upper jaws, and the Tarn fishes would erect theirs when they were hunting pigeons. This, combined with the fact that only moving pigeons were ever attacked, suggests that the fish are sensing the vibrations of birds that approached the water.

Alerted to the fishes' behaviour by local fishermen, Cucherousset watched them from a bridge overlooking the island. Over the summer of 2011, he filmed 54 attacks, of which 28 percent were successful.

I dunno, are people really that surprised about this? After all, they are -- wait for it -- CATfish. Cats love hunting birds! *smiling smugly* "That was f***ing terrible, GW." Ugh, I'm gonna go wash my mouth out with fireworks.

Hit the jump for a video of the carnage.

Thanks to keith, Amy and Pogonophile, who are convinced it's only a matter of time before those fish start developing legs and making their way on land. You know -- revolution. "It's EVOLUTION." Whatever.

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