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On the Wild Side: Strange news from the World of Wildlife!

Walking Catfish
credit: Rajesh dangi/CCSA

Walkin' on Spines

A fish that can walk? Don't dismiss the notion too quickly. Because there are such creatures. One even walks the streets of North America.

Its common name is the Walking Catfish. A native of Thailand, it arrived on our shores in the 1960s. Floridians wanted to put the fish in aquariums, but specimens escaped or were released, and the fish soon became established in the Everglades and elsewhere. Land barriers that would have stopped the progress of another fish didn't deter the Walking Catfish; it simply took them in stride.

In stride? Not quite. The walk is more a crawl than a saunter. The fish relies upon the pull of its pectoral spines and lateral undulations to move across land. It can breathe air thanks to a special respiratory organ and survive for months without eating. About the only thing keeping the Walking Catfish in check is its aversion to cold weather.

Click here to learn more about the Walking Catfish.