Ball-Swallowing Catfish

image This story about a catfish with a big, red inflatable ball stuck in its mouth found bobbing around in Sandalwood Lake has been getting quite a bit of attention. Apparently the guy who found the fish, Bill Driver, first saw a red ball in the water, then he noticed that there was a catfish attached to it. The story was reported in the Wichita Eagle by Michael Pearce, so there's no reason to think it isn't true. But what I wonder about is how the ball got into the fish's mouth in the first place. Aren't catfish bottom feeders? So how would it have come across a ball floating on the surface? Is it possible that someone stuck the ball in its mouth and then released it in the lake? Who knows. Though it's just as possible that the fish was swimming near the surface for some reason, saw the ball, and opened its mouth real, real wide. I guess I'll just have to file this case under 'unsolvable mysteries.'


Posted on Sun Jun 27, 2004


Not all catfish are bottom feeders. The channel catfish can be caught on lures.
Posted by Gene Smith  on  Mon Jun 28, 2004  at  09:20 PM
I think it's a hoax also ... someone had to have jammed the ball in the fish's mouth for it to be stuck like that ... some redneck kid felt it would make a good photo opportunity I believe but you were wrong in the assumption that catfish are bottom feeders ... the one in the photo for instance most generally only feeds on live bait such as bluegill, crappie, and others ... it even feeds on catfish and the technique most employed to catch flathead catfish is the use of live bluegill or live bullheads and even goldfish for bait. Bluecat, Flathead, and Channelcat will feed off bottom and anywhere else in the water column all the way to the surface. They will even hit lures. but as for your red faced flathead in the photo I'd guess that someone thought it'd be a good photo opportunity if they were to stick a big red ball in a flathead's mouth and turn it loose
Posted by Tiny  on  Fri Jul 02, 2004  at  12:46 PM
Here is a sight with more pictures of this.
Posted by Cody  on  Fri Jul 09, 2004  at  01:20 PM
That is a flathead catfish. It spends most of its time sitting in the mud on the bottom, but since Sunfish (a staple of the flathead's diet) swim at all levels, the cats have to go out and hunt. Flathead catfish are the tiger sharks of the freshwater catfish world. They will eat anything that can fit in their mouth. This is unlikely to be a hoax. I would be surpised if it was.

PS. Catfish aren't all bottom feeders. With almost 2,260 species, inhabiting every continent except Antarctica, consuming plants, animals, or both, and growing from as msall as 2" long to over 6ft., it is hard to belive that all of thema re.
Posted by Dylan Kroll  on  Fri Jul 09, 2004  at  09:37 PM
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