African Catfish

The African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus) is a species of catfish found throughout Africa and the Middle East. They inhabit freshwater lakes, rivers, swamps, and manmade ponds. Sometimes they can even be found in urban sewer systems.

It is a large, eel-like fish that often reaches lengths of 40 to 60 inches. It is usually dark gray or black in color on the back, with fading to a white belly. These fish have slender bodies, a flat bony head, and a broad, terminal mouth with four pairs of barbels (whisker-like feelers). They also have a large, accessory breathing organ composed of modified gill arches. Also, only the pectoral fins have spines.

Like most catfish, the African Catfish is strictly nocturnal. It feeds on live or dead animal matter. Thanks to a very wide mouth, it is able to gulp relatively big prey items whole. It is able to crawl on dry ground to escape drying pools, search for food or avoid capture, and can survive in shallow mud for long periods of time, between rainy seasons.