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Man-Eating Catfish and Pig-Eating Snake on the Loose

It’s Enormous Creature Friday and we’ve got two big ones that appeared this week to scare anyone who goes fishing or forgets to feed their snake for a few days.

First up is a giant catfish caught by a sports fisherman in the Po River in northern Italy. Using a spinning reel in his secret fishing spot, Dino Ferrari pulled in a 280-pound (127-kilogram), 8.75-foot-long wels catfish. It took Ferrari 40 minutes to reel in the giant catfish, which he then photographed, weighed and released back into the river. While not a record catfish (a 342-pound lau-lau catfish was caught in Brazil in 2009), it’s believed to be a record for using a spinning reel to catch a man-eating wels catfish. A what?

Stories of humans being eaten by wels are told throughout its European range. A list of disappearances attributed to wels catfish include a child in Pressburg, Hungary in 1613, a 7-year-old found in a wels’ stomach in 1754, two 16-year-old girls eaten by a wels in Turkey in 1793, the body of a woman found in a wels in Turkey in the 18th century and a man found int one in Ukraine in 1804. More recently, people reported being attacked by a wels catfish in Lake Schlachtensee outside of Berlin in 2008. Wels have been caught in Russia with human remains in their stomachs but experts were unable to determine if the people were alive when eaten. Animal Planet’s Jeremy Wade saw a giant Amazon catfish with a man’s legs in its mouth.

The wels catfish attacks in Lake Schlachtensee made headlines.

The wels catfish attacks in Lake Schlachtensee made headlines.

Moving on to killer reptiles, the military had to be called out to rescue the village of Caccu in southwestern Brazil from a giant 23-foot-long 150 kg (330 pound) anaconda that was eating pigs and threatening sheep and small children.

Soldier holding 23-foot anaconda that had been threatening Brazilian villagers

Soldier holding 23-foot anaconda that had been threatening Brazilian villagers

As they hauled the monster away, farmer Hebe Ramos described their relief.

We were walking across a field when we came to a river and saw a movement in the bushes. And then we had the shock of our lives when we realized it was a huge anaconda, one that was large enough to eat a pig or even a child. A snake this size would easily finish them off for supper.

While that guy on the Discovery Channel didn’t get swallowed alive and spit back out whole, there are numerous documented cases of anacondas and pythons attacking, killing and eating humans.

Be kind to animals no matter what size they are.

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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