Furry Trout and Hairy Lobsters sound like a great names for a band or terrible names for a seafood restaurant. In reality, they’re two odd water creatures – one that caught some attention last week and the other a rarity found in the south Pacific.
Fishermen in Wisconsin were grabbing their fly rods and favorite flies and heading to the streams after local media reported the incredible fish story of the furry trout. George Weber claimed he was fishing in the Menomonee River when he reeled in a trout that looked like it was covered with white hair. Was he about to become famous for catching a mythical furry trout?
Stories of furry or fur-bearing trout were told as far back as the 17th century in Canada by European settlers and in Iceland, where it was known as the shaggy trout. In the U.S., the first reference is a 1929 article in Montana Wildlife magazine. In 1938, Wilbur Foshay tried to stimulate tourism in Salida, Colorado, by spreading a story about fur-bearing trout in the nearby Arkansas River. Turns out his mounted trophy got its fur from a rabbit and a skillful taxidermist.
Is George Weber trying to pull the trout fur over our eyes? According to a local wildlife official he consulted, the trout was suffering from Saprolegnia or cotton mold, a freshwater fungus that can kill trout.
Do any fish grow fur? I asked that same question and found the hairy lobster, which is also known as the yeti lobster or yeti crab. First discovered in 2005, the Kiwa hirsuta is a crustacean with no eyes, a whitish color and blond hair that scientists believe may be a new species. It was found living on hydrothermal vents along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge at a depth of 2,200 meters (7,200 ft). Its long blond bristle-like hair grows primarily on its legs and claws and is used for catching food.
So the furry trout is a sick fish while the hairy lobster is an interesting new species. Neither one would make a stylish coat or wig – unless you’re Donald Trump.