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Catfish (Wels)

About Catfish (Wels)

The Wels or Danubian catfish is the largest of the world’s 15 catfish families. In the wild it can reach a length of 14.7 feet (4.5m). This fish is an ugly fish with a long, tapering body and tiny, stunted tail. It’s head is huge and flattened. The mouth is large with strong rubbery lips and many small teeth. From the upper jaw there are two very long barbules and four smaller barbules that hang below the fish’s chin.

The Wels Catfish was introduced to Britain approximately 100 years ago, with the first fish being stocked into Woburn Abbey lakes by the then Duke of Bedford.

Wels lay eggs in the early spring, and the eggs are shed in weedbeds along the edge of the water.

It is a very active hunter. Much of its food consists of fish, but it will also take frogs, rats, small waterbirds and dead creatures. It is mainly a nocturnal species. This giant catfish spends most of the daylight hours in the dense weedbeds. Sometimes during hot, thundery weather it will indulge in a daylight feeding frenzy.

The color of the Wels Catfish is normally a dark, mottled brown with yellow blotched sides and yellow white underparts. Albino catfish also occur.