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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Check out Snopes for "giant catfish": they don't (yet) have anything on this particular story, but there are a few stories that sound fairly close. Mostly, they're either unconfirmed or outright debunked.

As an occasional "noodler", I have to say I find the idea of a catfish, even a supposed three-meter one, going after a swimmer doubtful - and a person in reasonable health would be able to fend it off pretty easily if it did decide to try. But catfish are, for the most part, scavengers; they don't go after live prey as a general rule. Furthermore, their mouth structure isn't particularly suited for taking apart a human-sized meal; they generally have to wait for decomposition to soften things up first. So such a catfish would have to pretty much swallow a person in one piece - a fairly indigestible lump, considering the person is around two-thirds the fish's size!
Oct. 10th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
A long time ago I bought a fishing magazine that had a cover story about fishing for giant Amazonian catfish. The article mentioned English wels going after pets on the shore.

I also doubt the story of catfish going after a live adult human, but catfish are predators of a sort. The can and do eat smaller fish live. There used to be a catfish pond just a short drive from where I lived where you were practically guaranteed to come home with double-digits worth of fish. Cleaning our haul, (which is what turned me off from fishing, but that's another story) we would sometimes find half-digested bluegills in the stomachs of the catfish.
Oct. 10th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Admittedly, catfish can and occasionally will prey on other fish, but if it's truly a case of predation, the catfish will have to be considerably larger than the other fish - the structure of the catfish's mouth and throat require it. A catfish's head width is rarely as large as a quarter of its length, and the mouth can be no wider than the head, since the mouth size is defined by the bony plates which it uses as teeth. That means whatever it eats has to fit in a mouth that size, and down a gullet which is generally about half that size - basically, if a catfish tries to eat another fish (or anything, really) which is larger than about one-eighth to one-quarter its own size, it's going to do itself severe, probably fatal, damage. Considering most humans have a long dimension on the close order of 175 centimeters, that would mean a catfish would need to be a minimum of seven meters, and more likely fourteen, to comfortably eat the human.

Now admittedly, a twenty-five to forty-five foot catfish would be enough to seriously worry me (and probably anything that shared the water with it!), but even the wildest tales I've heard don't lay claim to anything that size...
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