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Huge Australian Catfish Have Started Catching and Eating Mice

You’ve probably heard that every creature in Australia is deadly and out to get you. It appears that even formerly innocuous predators are now becoming more dangerous, as catfish in Western Australia have been found to be eating mice. Researchers from Murdoch University in Perth caught 18 lesser salmon catfish from the Ashburton River to monitor the condition of the species.  

To their surprise, when they opened up the stomachs of the fish to get an idea of their diets, 44 percent of them were filled with the remains of spinifex hopping mice (Notomys alexis) - a jumpy little native species that keeps to the arid, desert areas of central and western Australia.

And we're not just talking about a single mouse here or there - some of the fish had helped themselves to a few.

"It was pretty surprising - about half had at least one in their stomach, and two of them had three," one of the team, David Morgan, told Shannon Verhagen at Australian Geographic. "Overall, 95 percent of the total stomach contents constituted spinifex hopping mice."

Now, catfish tend to stay in the water, and hopping mice tend to stay on dry land. What’s going on here? The research team has a theory, although they don’t know for sure. One thing they are sure of is that the catfish are growing much bigger than they used to. You can read about the mice-gobbling catfish at Science Alert. -Thanks, John Farrier!

(Image credit: Murdoch University)


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