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Issue 89 - February 2008 - Page 6

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Dial Before You Dig - Gas Pipeline Explosion Photographs
  2. Islamic Punishment Protest Email - Photos of Boy's Arm Being Crushed Under Car Wheel
  3. Federal Reserve Bank "Phishing Attack Warning" Scam Emails
  4. Difference Between http & https
  5. Photos of Koala Escaping Heatwave
  6. Furong Reservoir - Giant Man Eating Catfish Hoax
  7. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advance Fee Scam
  8. Carissa Malanitch Missing Child Hoax
  9. Plastic Containers - Chasing Arrows Symbol Reveals Plastic's Chemical Makeup
  10. Hodgkin's Lymphoma Prayer Request Email
  11. Obama Acceptance Speech Trojan Horse Warning
  12. Photographs of an Excavator Climbing a Tower
  13. Google 10th Anniversary Awards Lottery Scam
  14. Rebirth Of The Eagle Hoax
  15. Armless Girl Jessica Cox Gains Pilot's License
  16. Animal Rescue Site Email Forward
  17. Amirtha Make-A-Wish Foundation Email Hoax

Issue 89 Start Menu

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Furong Reservoir - Giant Man Eating Catfish Hoax

Summary:
Email claims that attached photographs show a massive man-eating catfish caught in the Furong Reservoir in Huadu, China (Full commentary below).



Status:
False - Images are genuine but do not show a catfish

Example:(Submitted, February 2009)
Subject: It's Just a Catfish!

For all those crazy guys who go 'noodling' for catfish and stick their arms down the fish's throat!! This would be 'all the catfish you can eat.'

Each year, a few people were drowning or disappearing mysteriously in Huadu's Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently, when the son of a government official went swimming, in the reservoir and was drowned, that the secret was revealed.

It is a 3 meter long man-eating catfish whose head alone is 1 meter wide! After cutting up the catfish, people were surprised to find the remains of another man inside!

Swimming in the reservoir is now forbidden because it is feared another similar man-eating catfish is still lurking in the waters

Catfish 1

Catfish 1




Commentary:
According to this email forward, the very large fish shown in the attached photographs is a man-eating catfish caught in the Furong Reservoir, a large lake located in China's Huadu District. The message claims that human remains were found inside the giant fish and suggests that it, and possibly other "catfish" like it, are responsible for the "mysterious" disappearances of people in the area.

However, the claims in the message are nonsense. The photographs themselves are genuine, but they do not depict a catfish, man-eating or otherwise. Instead, they show a whale shark. Whale sharks, which are the largest living fish, are filter feeders that live in the ocean. Despite their size, whale sharks are not considered harmful to humans. A Wikipedia entry about whale sharks notes:
This species, despite its enormous size, does not pose any significant danger to humans. It is a frequently cited example when educating the public about the popular misconceptions of all sharks as "man-eaters". They are actually quite gentle and can be playful with divers. There are unconfirmed reports of sharks lying still, upside down on the surface to allow divers to scrape parasites and other organisms from their torso. Divers and snorkelers can swim with this giant fish without any risk apart from unintentionally being struck by the shark's large tail fin.
The following photographs, which are obviously part of the same series, show the whale shark being skinned and cut open to reveal the fish's entrails. They are generally left out of the prank email, presumably because the obvious lack of human remains inside the fish tend to "give the game away".

Cutting Up Whale Shark 1 Cutting Up Whale Shark 2

Thus, as is often the case, it seems that some unknown prankster has simply invented a tall tale to go with a set of interesting images. At first glance, whale sharks do have a passing resemblance to catfish, and it was perhaps this resemblance that sparked the idea of a "giant man-eating catfish" in the prankster's imagination.



References:
Whale Shark
Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

Previous Article            Next Article

Issue 89 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Dial Before You Dig - Gas Pipeline Explosion Photographs
  2. Islamic Punishment Protest Email - Photos of Boy's Arm Being Crushed Under Car Wheel
  3. Federal Reserve Bank "Phishing Attack Warning" Scam Emails
  4. Difference Between http & https
  5. Photos of Koala Escaping Heatwave
  6. Furong Reservoir - Giant Man Eating Catfish Hoax
  7. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advance Fee Scam
  8. Carissa Malanitch Missing Child Hoax
  9. Plastic Containers - Chasing Arrows Symbol Reveals Plastic's Chemical Makeup
  10. Hodgkin's Lymphoma Prayer Request Email
  11. Obama Acceptance Speech Trojan Horse Warning
  12. Photographs of an Excavator Climbing a Tower
  13. Google 10th Anniversary Awards Lottery Scam
  14. Rebirth Of The Eagle Hoax
  15. Armless Girl Jessica Cox Gains Pilot's License
  16. Animal Rescue Site Email Forward
  17. Amirtha Make-A-Wish Foundation Email Hoax