- This extremely predatory fish has the instinct to attack and bite anything that comes near it, even if that animal is quite larger!
- Going by the name M’Benga in Swahili, it is believed this fish attacks humans because it is possessed by an evil spirit.
- Its teeth measure 1 inch long, each fitting into a special groove in its jaws, making for a powerful mouth.
- Despite its scary nature, anglers regard the tigerfish as among the greatest freshwater gamefish in the world.
Generally speaking, humans aren’t too worried about the kinds of fish living in bodies of freshwater. The ocean is where really dangerous fish like sharks and stuff live, right? Unfortunately, as much as we might wish that was the case, it unfortunately isn’t.
In fact, one species of freshwater fish has such a reputation that its local name is M’Benga, which translates to “the dangerous fish” in Swahili. Let’s discover the river monster fish so deadly it can eat crocodiles!
What kind of fish is able to eat crocodiles?
The giant tigerfish, or Hydrocynus goliath, is one of the largest predatory freshwater fish in the world and is known for attacking anything that moves.
If the game doesn’t give it away, the giant tigerfish is quite the fearsome creature. There are five known species of tigerfish, each with a local reputation of its own. Goliath tigerfish are a type of toothed fish that locally goes by the name M’Benga, which translates to “the dangerous fish” in Swahili. Local people who have encountered the fish believe that the many attacks on humans are the result of an evil spirit (named M’Benga) that is controlling this monstrous fish.
Although they can get pretty large, it’s a bit inaccurate to say that tigerfish kill crocodiles. Still, that isn’t the whole story. The extreme predatory nature of the fish is believed to be the result of an instinct to attack and bite anything that makes rapid or splashing movements. As a result, there are some stories of these fish attacking crocodiles and attempting to take a bite out of them. Additionally, their sheer size and strength could easily allow them to kill a hatchling crocodile, although they generally eat fish.
Where do giant tigerfish live?
Giant tigerfish are native to the Congo River Basin in central Africa. More specifically, they live in the Congo and Lualaba Rivers, as well as Lake Upemba and Lake Tanganyika. Although there are populations of humans that live along these rivers and lakes, the region is extremely remote and difficult to get to. As such, they are tough to find, let alone catch. Still, they retain their dangerous reputation.
‘It is very rare to catch one, especially by an outsider because they are found in such a remote and difficult location to get to. There are no guides or lodges on that part of the Congo River.’Jeremy Wade, River Monsters
How big are giant tigerfish?
As far as freshwater fish go, tigerfish are among the largest. They regularly reach lengths of 5 feet, although there are reports of them growing larger. Additionally, they usually weigh around 110 lbs, with the record weighing 154 lbs.
Their size and strength are one thing, but it’s actually their teeth that they are known for. As a predatory-toothed fish, the tigerfish has a serious bite. On average, the teeth of a tigerfish measure 1 inch long, each of which fits into a special groove in its jaws. In appearance, the tigerfish resembles a massive piranha, although it has a much more sinister bite than its much smaller lookalike in South America.
Is it normal for giant tigerfish to attack humans?
As their Swahili name would suggest, these fish occasionally attack humans. It’s believed that they have a predatory reflex to attack anything that splashes or moves, sending them into a biting frenzy. This predatory reflex could potentially be triggered by people washing clothes, playing, or simply walking in a river or lake.
‘It also has an extremely powerful bite and has been known to consume prey the same size as itself, attack people and take pieces out of crocodiles.’Jeremy Wade
Despite the dangers of the fish, they aren’t a true threat to full-grown humans, although they can really harm a person. In the remote regions in which they can be found, the potential for infection after the bite is much riskier. Still, small children could potentially be drowned if a large tigerfish were to initiate an all-out attack on them while they were swimming in a deeper portion of a lake or river.
Popular representations of the tigerfish
The tigerfish is a rare and isolated fish that locals in Africa have known about for a very long time. The rest of the world, however, probably knows about them because of the television show, River Monsters. In this show, Jeremy Wade, one of the best fishermen on the planet, sets out to catch the scariest and largest fish from around the globe. In his pursuit of these river monsters, the tigerfish was added to his list. Wade considers the fish to be one the scariest, and anglers from around the world regard it among the greatest freshwater gamefish in the world.
‘It is a very dangerous fish to handle. If you aren’t careful it could easily take your finger off or worse,’ he added. ‘It is very rare to catch one, especially by an outsider because they are found in such a remote and difficult location to get to. There are no guides or lodges on that part of the Congo River.’Jeremy Wade
Giant Tigerfish vs. Crocodile
Although one is a fish and the other is a reptile, giant tigerfish and crocodiles share some characteristics. Both are fierce predators known to attack humans, and both have sets of long, pointed teeth. However, freshwater crocodiles are much bigger and stronger than tigerfish. The size of freshwater crocodiles averages from 6 to 10 feet long, while tigerfish are about 4 to 5 feet. In a fight between two fully grown animals, the crocodile would win due to its sheer size and strength, but, as mentioned earlier, not before losing a few pieces of its skin. Due to its extremely predatory nature, a tigerfish will attack anything nearby it thinks it can, including a crocodile.
How Long Do Giant Tigerfish Live?
Tigerfish are quite rare to see, so they haven’t been studied extensively. It is unknown how long tigerfish can live in the wild. In captivity, the tigerfish can live between 10 and 15 years.
Female giant tigerfish tend to hide their nests in underwater vegetation and lay up to 780,000 eggs at one time, indicating the vulnerability of young tigerfish. They are piscivores from the start, feeding on plankton and small fish before growing into the vicious predators they are.
- Discover the River Monster Fish with Teeth the Size of a Great White Shark! — Which fish has a lot in common with the Great White despite being only a fraction of the shark’s size?
- River Monsters: Discover the Largest Fish in the Congo River — The continent of Africa has some scary animals lurking in its waters. Have you ever encountered any of these monsters?
- Deadly Fish: The 10 Deadliest Fish in the World — With more than 35,000 species of fish, there have to be some vicious predators among them. Discover the top 10.
- River Monsters: Discover the Largest Fish in the Nile River — What’s lurking in the Nile? We will show you the massive freshwater species that call this river home.
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