What Is a Wels Catfish?

wels-catfish Credit: Allie_Caulfield/CC-BY-2.0

The Wels catfish is a species of European catfish that lives in rivers and lakes primarily in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. This species has numerous names, including the European catfish, the Danube catfish, the sheatfish and its scientific name, Silurus glanis.

For the first year of their lives, these fish normally prey on plankton. After that, they eat aquatic insects, worms, snails, crustaceans and small fish. When they reach their full adult size, they eat fish, eels, ducks, voles, crayfish, frogs, rats and snakes. These fish hunt by suddenly opening their mouths and allowing the suction to pull their prey in.

Wels catfish use mostly chemical cues to navigate their surroundings, since the water around them may be brackish.