Tuesday, February 7, 2012

10 Most Badass Fish in the World Plus One

We all like fish, whether it be our pet goldfish, or that salmon you had for supper. Not all fish are so mundane however. Many are in the same bad-assery league as creatures such as crocodiles and lions, as you will soon see! No, we are not including piranha's, they are wimps. Well, they are when compared to the fish in this list! Also, in an attempt to have some variety, sharks aren't included in this list (maybe that's an idea for a future article!).

10. Vampire Tetra Fish

Tetra fish? Aren't those the nice little two or three inch long fish that my grandmother has in her tank? Yes, probably, but these are vampire tetra's we're talking about here.

Notice the fangs.

Reaching up to 120 centimeters (47 inches) in length, vampire tetra fish are no small fry. I can't stress enough that these fish have fangs. If you know what a viper fish is (now you do), it's like a fresh water version of one of those! In waters we can actually physically reach on a daily basis.

9. Sarcastic Fringehead

Kiss Me!

Despite your feelings about the above picture, this is one of the few fish on here incapable of seriously harming humans, only growing up to about 12 inches. That being said, if the fish was any bigger, I guarantee it would have no issue chasing down a witless diver. O wait, they already do. They're like the real life version of The Predator.

Family Resemblance?

In the video below, you get an idea of this fishes bad-assery. It fights an octopus, a creature that is essentially eight legs of pure muscle. The only thing more bad ass than fighting an octopus? Fighting another Sarcastic Fringehead.

8. Arapaima


Maximum Length: 3 meters (10 feet)
Maximum weight: Over 182 kg (400 pounds)

One of the largest fresh water fish in the world (if not the largest, the title is heavily contested), the Arapaima rules the Amazon river. The Arapaima has remained relatively unchanged since the Jurassic period, and for good reason. Like many ancient fish, Arapaima(or Pirarurcu as the natives call them) has a primitive type of "lung" in addition to their gills, allowing the fish to breath air.

The fish is quick to snap up any morsel that it comes across, be it fish(including piranha's), amphibian, bird, reptile, or mammal. There is controversy on whether or not the fish is aggressive towards humans, but it's easy to imagine one flipping a canoe!

7. Electric Eel

Seems Harmless Enough

The electric eel creates the most powerful electric charge of any other creature on earth, capable of producing up to 700 volts! This shock is more than enough to stun and kill pretty much every other thing that lives in a river, such as crocodilians and/or fishermen. The following video shows one powering the lights on a Christmas tree.

Eel powering Christmas tree video.

6. Saw Fish

Maximum Length: Biggest species can grow up to 7m (23 feet)

The Saw Fish (technically a ray) is not to be confused with Saw Sharks, which are very similar (but much smaller). Saw fish are basically sword fish with a chain saw on its nose instead of a sword. They use this biological chain saw to slash at their prey (a school of fish for example), stunning and/or dismembering them. The Saw Fish then gobbles up what's left of their hapless victim.

5. Giant Snakehead

Could very easily lose a hand.

Maximum Length: 1.8 meters (6 feet)
Maxium Weight: 30 kg (66 pounds)

The infamous Snakehead. An invasive species in North America, they get very little love from environmentalist. In their proper geological location however, they are a gorgeous, vital part of the ecosystem. The truth is, that North America has their own version of the Snakehead, the Bowfin, and they have lived in our waters for millions of years. So while Snakeheads are indeed invasive, they are not quite as destructive and foreign as the media makes them out to be.

There is a myriad of reasons why they are an extremely effective predators. Snakeheads are large, aggressive carnivores that will eat anything they can get their teeth around. They are also a primitive kind of fish, and like the Arapaima, have primitive lungs in addition to their gills that allow them to breath air. This allows them to survive in low oxygen water, and even out of water for some time.

4. Moray Eel

Maximum Length: 3 meters (10 feet)
Maxium Weight: 70 kg (154 pounds)

Moray Eel's are the stuff nightmares are made of. This isn't because of their large size or ridiculous musculature, but because they have two sets of jaws, which both have teeth! The primary set of jaws are those that we are familiar with in many other animals, and are used in the same way. One the primary set of jaws have a hold of the victim, the secondary jaws spring into action, they move forward to grab the prey, and drag it into the throat of the eel.

Pictured: The two jaws of a Moray Eel.
Even though they are commonly feed by divers, but can become aggressive. There are accounts of people losing thumbs, as well as other body parts to Moray Eels. Moray's have extremely few predators, aside from really large groupers or sharks.

3. Tiger Fish

Maximum Length: 1.5 meters (5 feet)
Maxium Weight: 70 kg (154 pounds)

This fish has one of the biggest sets of teeth on this list, and is basically a fresh water version of a barracuda(which is also bad ass). That alone does not grant them the #3 spot on this list however, they are also extremely fast, aggressive and agile hunters, and can grow to be quite large, the largest of which is the Goliath Tiger Fish.

Yes, these fish are aggressive towards humans, with many reports of attacks in the Congo. This video is of the guy up there actually catching the Goliath Tiger Fish.

2. Alligator Gar

Maximum Length: 3 meters (10 feet)
Maximum Weight: 159 kg (350 pounds)

Remember when we said that the Goliath Tiger Fish had one of the biggest sets of teeth on this list? Well the Alligator Gar has the biggest set of teeth on this list! It's appropriately named, as it's basically a fish with the mouth(and teeth) of an alligator.

Perhaps it's not a coincidence that there are alot of ancient fish on this list, including the Alligator Gar which dates back to the time of the dinosaurs 100 million years ago.

1. Wels Catfish

Maximum length: 5 meters (16.5 feet)
Maximum weight: 300 kg (660 pounds)

If the Arapaima isn't the worlds largest fish, the Wels Catfish certainly is. The catfish has a huge mouth fill with small sharp teeth, and is indiscriminate when choosing its next meal, which possible includes humans. The Wels Catfish earns the title of most badass fish for simple being able to eat anything it damn well pleases!

There are tales from as far back as the 1400's of people being attacked and eaten by Wels Catfish. More recently, as in 2008, there have been confirmed attacks in a lake outside of Berlin on people by these catfish. Human remains have also been found inside Wels Catfish in Russia, but it is generally agreed that the people eaten by the catfish drowned, and then were scavenged by the Wels Catfish rather than the catfish actively hunting them.

Plus 1: The Candiru Catfish

Maximum length: 2.4 cm (6 inches)

Bonus fish! I thought you'd all like to know about the wonderful Candiru Catfish. This fish isn't really bad ass..., coming in at only 2.4 cm long. It's just leagues ahead in terms of being terrifying compared to all other fish on this list, and here's why.

I know you're thinking "This guy looks harmless enough, what could possibly be terrifying about the little guy?" O how wrong you are. The parasitic Candiru Catfish usually attaches to other fishes gills and drinks blood from there. But that is not always the case. The fish is hardwired to find orifices to enter through, and is thus attracted to urine (see were this is going?) There is a story(a true story) of a man who was peeing in the amazon river, only to have a Candiru Catfish swim up his urethra and take up residence in his penis, feasting on his blood the whole time. The poor man was stuck with the fish in his penis for days, until he was able to get a surgeon to remove it. O, did I mention they have spines in their fins that they use to wedge themselves into place once inside the host?

There is a specific species of Candiru called Candiru asu which is even more terrifying. The River Monsters website describes it best by stating:

"Perhaps the most horrifying Candiru species of all is the Candiru asu. This small catfish is a voracious parasite. It uses its circular mouth and sharp teeth to bite flesh and then enter organisms, leaving behind a wound that looks uncannily like a bullet hole. The Candiru asu proceeds to feed on the organs, literally eating its victim from inside. Human corpses have been discovered in the Amazon filled with more than 100 of these river monsters. Scientists and coroners have determined that the victims may have even been alive and simply incapacitated when the Candiru asu struck"

You welcome for the mental images, and remember, don't pee in the water!


  1. It's worth mentioning that the Goonch at the very least deserves and honorable mention. It's a catfish similar to the Wels Catfish, and has also had reported attacks on humans.

  2. Just as scary as the candiru is the Pacu. In it's native area, the Amazon, it's a relatively harmless herbivore. As an invasive species in Papua New Guinea it grows larger and as plant food is much more scarce, and without appropriate predators keeping their numbers in check, their diet has become more varied. Now in addition to fruits and nuts they eat testicles.

    1. Wow, I haven't heard that before, but that does sound terrifying :S.

  3. Every animal has specific needs and keeping an animal is a big responsibility.

    1. Which fits in exactly how with this topic?

  4. This is the first time I've seen these kinds of fish. They are scary.

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