Man-Eating Catfish of Furong Reservoir

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Filed under: Urban Legends

From David Emory of Urban Legends:

Netlore Archive: Internet photos purport to show a giant, man-eating catfish caught in the Furong Reservoir in Huadu, China.

Man-eating Catfish of Furong Reservoir?

Description: Emailed images & text
Circulating since: August 2007
Status: Authentic images / False story

Email example contributed by Joni, 16 Nov. 2007:

Subject: All the Catfish you can eat

Need to see just in case you’re going fishing anytime soon!!!!!!!

For all those crazy guys who go noodling for catfish and stick their arms down the fish s throat!! This would really be all the catfish you can eat.

Each year, a few people will be drowned mysteriously in Huadu’s Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently when the son of a certain official went swimming in the reservoir with his friend and were drowned that the secret was unravelled!

It’s a 3 metre long man-eating catfish whose head alone is 1 metre wide! After cutting up the catfish people were surprised to find the remains of a man inside!

Because this was a huge incident, and the local government was afraid of the impact on local tourism, they imposed an embargo on the news, but people came away with these pictures taken on their cell phones of the man-eating fish!

Swimming in the reservoir is now forbidden because it is feared another similar man-eating catfish is still lurking in the waters.


Comments: It’s a big fish, yes; but it is not a catfish, much less a man-eater. Judging by the pictures, it is a whale shark, specimens of which have measured up to 41 feet long (or more, according to undocumented reports). It is the largest existing species of fish. It lives in salt water. It eats nothing larger than plankton.

Though listed as “vulnerable to extinction” by conservation groups, whale sharks are subject to commercial fishing in parts of Asia, where their meat is sold for food and their fins for use in traditional medicine.

It’s unknown precisely where and when these photos were taken, but the claim that the behemoth was caught in the Furong Reservoir in the Huadu district of China is clearly false, given that whale sharks are not freshwater fish.