A Missouri man has a fish story that he will likely be telling for years.
Monroe MacKinney, 22, was fishing at his parents’ pond on My 31 when he caught a most unusual bass, reports the Daily Mail.
When he went to remove the hook, he noticed something peculiar inside the fish’s mouth.
“I went to lip him so I could remove my hook and that’s when I saw something in its mouth, MacKinney explained. “I didn’t know what it was and I almost dropped the fish back in the water. I was hesitant to remove the hook, but upon further inspection I realized it was a mole inside the fish’s mouth.”
The rodent was fully intact, looking like it just emerged from its hole. Except that it was dead.
“I had no idea how the bass got ahold of a mole,” the young fisherman continued. “I was speechless – I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I knew I had a once-in-a-lifetime catch, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a few pictures of it.”
Fish that feast on land animals is rare, but not without precedent.
For example, there are catfish in Australia who have been known to eat pigeons, reports an article in New Scientists. “Lesser salmon catfish,” as they are called, occasionally ambush pigeons at the water’s edge. But more often they eat animals when they drown.
In a survey of 18 lesser salmon catfish from Ashburton River in northern Australia, almost half had mice in their stomachs.
Two of the fish had three animals each in their stomachs, and some fish had up to 95 percent of their stomachs filled with small mammals.
The primary prey in these cases was spinifex hopping mice, which do not enter water voluntarily. “These mice often live in small colonies within a single burrow system,” says Erin Kelly of the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research at Murdoch University, Perth, who led the research. Therefore, “collapse or flooding of one or multiple burrow systems along the Ashburton River could have inadvertently introduced them into the water.”
And though a few freshwater fish species are known to dine on land vertebrates — African tigerfish have been filmed plucking a swallow out of thin air, for example — it is rare for them to eat so many.
But the lesser salmon catfish aren’t the only fish who have been reported to eat non-aquatic animals.
Trout in Idaho have been found with rodents in their bellies. In a trout population survey done at the Silver Creek Preserve, biologists catch trout to get their weight and measurements, reports the website Cool Green Science.
During each survey, the researchers sample the contents of select trout stomachs to see what they have been eating. As they opened brown trout stomachs during a survey in 2013, they found montane voles, which are small rodents common along Silver Creek.
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