River Monsters with Jeremy Wade Part 2

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A brief recap: Jeremy Wade is a biologist and a fisherman who goes to various freshwater areas of the world where there are stories of giant monsters in the river and Jeremy tries to prove or disprove them via catch-and-release fishing.

These stories often prove true in the sense that there are things in the water that can do that. So let’s get started shall we?

The Goonch

The catfish in India that I mentioned in the last post is called a Goonch or a Giant Devil Catfish. It is a Bagarius yarrelli. Growing to a length of 2 Meters (6.6 feet) and over 200 pounds. That’s one big man eating fish.

Bagarius yarrelli Giant Devil Catfish or Goonch
Bagarius yarrelli Giant Devil Catfish or Goonch

As I said, it can create enough suction to drown (then eat) a water buffalo. And children. <insert involuntary shudder here> Oh, yes, and it has small teeth that feel like sandpaper with death grip capability.

Moving on to another nightmare we come to:

The Wels Catfish

Wels Catfish
Wels Catfish

The Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis) also is called a sheatfish. It tends to be found in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. It can live for up to 30 years and grow up to 4 Meters (13 feet). It has excellent hearing and has been known to jump out of a lake to grab pigeons standing on land.

Go ahead and let that image absorb for a bit, I’ll wait.

The Wels catfish, large ones anyway, has been rumored to attack people. I’m pretty sure that since two of the three that Jeremy Wade caught, tried to attack him after he released them, that it’s not really a rumor. Old stories (I think 17th or 18th century, I’m not positive, but not 20th century anyway) have been told about opening up one of these babies to find human remains inside.

And our last I-hope-I-never-enounter-this critter is:

The Japanese giant salamander

Japanese giant salamander
Japanese giant salamander

Ah salamanders. When I was about six years old we lived on a couple acres out in the country and there was a small pond where I would catch and sometimes release salamanders and frogs. Often I would bring them up to the house where mom would send me and my new-found pets back to the pond, just for me to sneak them home later. Good times.

I’m positive that in Japan, the concept of Godzilla was born straight from this little nightmare. The Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) also known as the giant pepper fish was turned into a supernatural being in legends. Unfortunately the reality is just as bad.

Growing up to 1.5 M (5 feet) in length they are completely aquatic, unlike most salamanders. They’re also nocturnal. Feeding mainly on insects, fish and frogs, it has been known to take down a small villager or two. It has special sensory cells that help it find prey because apparently it (unlike Godzilla) is nearsighted.

Well that’s it for now. Happy swimming. 🙂

– Jeffery


Purchase DVDs of Jeremy Wade’s show here: River Monsters