Catfish Hunt Pigeons

catfish

A catfish hunting pigeons has been discovered in southwest France, Daily Mail reports Dec. 7. Fish in the Tarn River wait patiently for a pigeon that lurks too close to the water’s edge before they launch out of water to grab their prey then squirm back and swallow them up.

The University of Toulouse studied this unusual animal behavior and have dubbed catfish that hunt pigeons as “freshwater killer whales.”

European catfish are among the largest of catfish in the world. The Daily Mail reports them as being between 1m and 1.5m long. Most fish of this species are water bottom feeders which live on aquatic plants, dying vegetation, and bugs.

Research on catfish hunting pigeons lasted for five months with 54 incidents. The fish had successful captures of the pigeons 28 percent of the time. In most cases the hunts were swift and no more than half of the fish’s body was exposed.

Why would catfish hunt pigeons? It’s speculated that since the fish were placed in the Tarn River in 1983, they have flourished and water vegetation has decreased, making the catfish turn to the aquatic birds.