Walking Catfish terrorize Florida neighborhood
Residents in a Pinellas County subdivision found about 30 catfish walking around their neighborhood on Tuesday.
The walking catfish uses its pectoral fin to shuffle up the street and can breathe out of water as long as it stays moist.
Dianna Fernandez maintains the lawns in the area and drove up on the incredible sight.
“I was, like, ‘No way, there’s fish in the street.’ And I kept going further and further, seeing fish everywhere. In driveways. I’ve never seen anything like it,”
Paul Shafland, a scientist with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said walking catfish can travel short distances on land as long as they stay moist.
“Scientists say these walking catfish are pretty tough. They actually live in storm drains, and when it rains a lot they come up with the water and start walking around the streets,” Shafland said.
“We thought it was a prank at first. That, maybe, somebody dumped some fish, but then we realized that it was coming up from the sewer — that we had to so much rain last night,” said Pinellas Park resident Hannah Cline.
A fisherman on the St. Petersburg Pier who wasn’t having much luck, was skeptical that he could catch plenty of fish on the street.
“Oh, walking on the street? Nah,” said Marcilinio Ramierez.
Even though the slippery walking catfish are easy to catch, scientists say people should not try to save them because the fish are an invasive species that does harm to Florida’s ecosystem.
According to Shafland, the walking catfish has been in Florida since the 1960s.
“Walking catfish gained huge notoriety in the 1960s that they were going to take over Florida and devastate the area,” Shafland said. “Those predictions have not been realized. But while their numbers seem to have declined the walking catfish are still problematic.”