Deadly Catfish: These “Freshwater Killer Whales” Strand Themselves to Hunt Pigeons

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They mimic killer whales or bottlenose dolphins but live in fresh water: Discover how catfish, also described as “freshwater killer whales”  strand themselves to hunt pigeons.

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A catfish attacks a pigeon in Albi, France / Photo DDM, Camille Musseau

As shown in the following video, catfish — 1 to 1.5 metres long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent — living in the River Tarn are efficient hunters. They strand themselves to kill pigeons similar to other aquatic hunters such as bottlenose dolphins and killer whales.

But why this unusual behavior?

For the moment, this stands as an interesting example of unusual behaviour. Biologists do not know why these particular catfish started stranding themselves to kill pigeons, or whether they particularly benefit from doing so.

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Catfish lie in wait for pigeons / Photo DDM, Camille Musseau

The European catfish is an alien, introduced into the Tarn in 1983, and currently flourishing there. Is it possible that these invaders have eaten too many local fish and are forced to seek sustenance elsewhere? Does this explain why it seems to be the smaller catfish that go after pigeons? Or is it that the smaller individuals are less likely to be permanently stranded on shore, or expend less energy in wiggling back into the water? Why, essentially, is a bird in the mouth worth being a fish out of water?

Documentary on ARTE in 2014

The strange hunting behavior of these catfish will be the subject of an ARTE documentary in 2014. (SOURCE)

OMG! Can you imagine if they started attacking humans? This amazing photo also show a strange fishy experience.

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