Wolf Fish

posted: 03/18/14
Read more Read less
Wolf Fish
Icon Films

Maximum Diameter:

Up to 39 inches

Maximum Weight:

Up to 88 pounds

Tropical Thunder:

The wolf fish has the ability to live pretty much everywhere in the tropical climate in Suriname, the smallest independent country in South America, whether the waters are shallow or deep: small streams, river springs, sparse water puddles, lakes, rivers — all provide suitable abodes. This creature can reach 39 inches (100 centimeters) in length and get as large as 88 pounds (40 kilograms), and it comes out at dusk and during the night to feed on other fish and small invertebrates.

Good Boy or Bad?

Some wolf fish are known to be shy, while others are aggressive. Knowledgeable fishermen know they have to be extremely careful when they're out canoeing, because they don't know what type of behavior wolf fish will exhibit. Sometimes, these river monsters will jump onto shore or into a canoe to attack their prey. Depending upon their size, female wolf fish can carry anywhere from 6,000 to 60,000 eggs during the species' breeding season, which coincides with the rainy season from December to March.

Safer on Land:

Some of the biggest wolf fish — and the most concentrated number of them — live in the Courantyne River in the northern part of South America, while the more aggressive species exist in the Coppename River. There have been reported cases of wolf fish attacks on humans and other animals. One of the most well-known reports is the story of a diver who, while inspecting the dam at Suriname's Afobaka power plant, became the victim of a brutal wolf fish attack. Other attack stories include one about a dog that was killed by two large wolf fish after he fell in a stream while trying to walk across it on a log, and another about a fisherman who was bitten on his foot while wading in water.

Jeremy Wade's Tips for Catching a Wolf Fish:

"This was true guerilla fishing: short-range, shallow water, after dark, in the middle of trees, in a place where I'd seen movement in the water before."

More on
River Monsters