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Wels Catfish (Silurus Glanis)

The Wels Catfish or Silurus Glanis is a species of Catfish that can grow to truly unbelievable sizes! Reaching 3 meters (9.8 ft) in length, and weighing in at an amazing 150 kg (330 lb), they rival the massive Mekong Catfish in both length and weight! These Catfish are scaleless and can be identified by their huge mouths and the two long barbels on their upper jaw and four short ones on the lower jaw that are use to sense prey. They have a slimy green or brown body with a white underbelly and go by many different names throughout the world including Danube Catfish, Sheatfish, European Catfish, Som Catfish and even the Freshwater Killer Whale.  You can see why they call them the Freshwater Killer Whale in the video below.  Watch as this European Catfish temporarily beaches itself to catch and unsuspecting pigeon.
Wels Catfish are often found in rivers and warm lakes in many parts Europe and Asia. They will spend most of their time in sheltered locations where they wait for their prey. Using their pectoral fins they disorient their prey and then simply swallow them whole which their massive mouths. Wels Catfish will feed on insects, crustaceans, fish, frogs, mice, rats, ducks and anything else they can fit there mouths around.If this fish is starting to sounds familiar it might be because you saw it on an episode of River Monsters with Jeremy Wade on the Animal Planet. On this episode they explore the idea that this monster Wels Catfish have actually attacked people. You can check out a little teaser from that show below...

When the Wels Catfish spawns it will produce 30,000 eggs per kilogram of body weight. Considering these Catfish are huge, you can just imagine how many eggs a single one of these monsters can produce. After spawning, the male Wels Catfish will guard the nest until they hatch, normally this will take a week or so. Since the spawning is done so shallow and the water level can drop easily to expose the eggs, the male has been observed splashing the nest with its huge tail to keep the area moist.

These fish are considered edible, but as they get older they get a bit fatty and less tasty. If you have any fishing tips or any other information about the Wels Catfish that you would like to share just leave us a comment!

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