One of the most common mystery animals stories in the United States involves giant catfish.
As the story typically goes, divers descend below a dam to inspect the walls and see a catfish “large as a Volkswagen and big enough to swallow a man”. Usually the story is related by someone who said their friends cousin’s uncle was the diver.
I actually went and dove at a couple of reservoirs to test the feasibility of the legend and traveled to Spain to encounter true giant catfish called the Wels.
It is my opinion that seeing a record class catfish in murky water at close range probably inspired the legend and it grew from there. I had the amazing opportunity to dive with the world record blue catfish (at the time) named “Splash” at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
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Source: Kingdom Zoo