Friday, October 10, 2008

With Chips on the Side...

Something fishy is happening along the Nepal-India border. Those unwise enough to bathe in the waters of the Great Kali may find it to be their final cleansing. Teenagers have gone missing and a few spectators have watched helplessly as people are pulled into the river.

By what, you ask? Killer catfish.

It may sound like the plot of a low-budget science fiction movie, but giant catfish (called Goonch, or more specifically Bagarius yarelli) are killing people. And just like any good movie script, the locals have a theory to accompany this taste for human blood and flesh.

The river is a popular place for funeral pyres. They conclude that the partially burnt corpses sink into the river bottom where catfish feed. Over the years, these Goonch have munched away on the dead bodies and found that although we are often menacing, we are also mighty tasty morsels. With the newfound pallet, the fish have taken to snagging live humans to feed their hungers.

Don't be fooled by visions of deep-fried catfish on plates. These monsters have been hooked at upwards of six feet long and weighing in at 161 pounds. Biologist Jeremy Wade recently launched an investigation of the Goonch catfish and will report his findings on a television documentary. Flesh Eating River Monsters is slated to air on UK's Channel 5 on October 23.

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