Sunday, December 9, 2012

Barbel Fish Hunts Pigeons (Video)

Picture source:

The Barbel or Barber (aka Catfish) must surely be one of the strangest freshwater fish in the world. These fish have normal gills for breathing underwater but also have an auxiliary breathing organ which enables them to breathe pure air when the oxygen content in the water drops.

They are thus capable of surviving in the muddiest and dirtiest of waters, and if need be they will not hesitate to journey overland – an odd spectacle my own disbelieving eyes once observed when I encountered a Barbel slithering along a footpath, in the midday heat, towards the direction of the Mogalakwena River.

The trial of the footpath led from a concrete dam built on the farm a few years earlier, and which he was recently stocked with some Barbel. The dam was located about one kilometer from the river, but the fighting-size Barbel I encountered was evidently determined to get back where he belonged. The incident happened many years ago when I was still a youngster, in my early teens, but the memory thereof feels like yesterday. The 'walking' fish had already made it halfway by the time I stumbled upon it. I helped the fish get to its destination sooner, and can recall how excited it became the closer we got to the river. To this day it has always puzzled me how the fish knew which direction to take after it had 'escaped' from the concrete dam.

This posting was inspired after viewing the following video of Barbel ‘hunting’ pigeons. Although the setting is in Southwestern France, and not Africa, I still felt that it was worthwhile sharing on the blog. These European catfish are very similar to the ones found in Southern Africa, and are about 1 to 1.5 metres long. The maker of the video was standing overhead on a bridge when he witnessed the fish lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey. The full story can be read here.

While we’re on the subject of Barbel I may as well share one of my own videos, which I’m sure viewers will find amusing. It was taken during a fishing expedition to the Okavango Panhandle (Northern Botswana), during Nov. 2011. The chap sitting on the cooler was our ‘barman’ on the trip and was totally unprepared for the encounter.

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Pops said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Hi Tia

The best part of your video clip was the sound of the Fish Eagle. I haven't heard it for nearly 20 years.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Lovely thanks for this

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