Goonch Catfish – Interesting And Stunning Facts About Goonch Catfish

Goonch Catfish - Interesting And Stunning Facts About Goonch Catfish

The Goonch Catfish, also famous as the man-eating catfish, is a terrifying river monster with sharp jaws and large eyeballs. It is unlike a typical fish, since it has a lengthy body and a massive flattened head with three pairs of barrels. Locals claim that the goonch catfish has attacked and devoured people in India. According to locals, They demand greater attention because of their gigantic size and unusual man-hunting mentality. Despite the fact that these fish are famous for their man-eating abilities, we still know very little about them.


The Himalayan Outback has brought to you some Interesting and stunning facts about Goonch Catfish that you might not be knowing about. Have a read!


What is Goonch Catfish?

Goonch catfish, scientifically known as Bagarius yarrelli, is a member of the Sisoridae family and is famous by numerous names. Gorua Baghmas and Bodh Goonch catfish are giant-sized catfish endemic to South Asian riverbeds. This fish lives in the Indian subcontinent’s rivers, notably the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus basins.


The exact range of these fish is uncertain because they assumingly live in various regions of South and Southeast Asia. They, however, live in India and Nepal, particularly in the Great Kali River.


How Goonch Catfish Looks Like

It is a gigantic river monster. The fish is able to grow up to 6 metres (20 ft), however they are now only found in lengths ranging from 3 to 4 metres (10 to 13 ft).


Shape and Colour

The body morphology of a goonch catfish is characteristic of a huge catfish, with a large flattened head. The nasal pair is the longest of the three pairs of barbels on this fish. They also have sensory pores on their heads, which gives them the appearance of a catfish.


Although the colour of catfish is similar to that of other fish, it does have certain distinguishing features. Their bodies are scale-free, and their jaws have razor-sharp teeth. The edges of the pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins are black. Their huge head is triangular in form and flattened at the top. The three pairs of barbels, which are normally thicker at the base and roughly equal in length, help to identify this species.


Their eyes are tiny and have a grey iris, and they have a terminal mouth with a large lower jaw and thin lips. Their outer row of teeth is long and narrow, but their inner row is short and wide. They are pale grey to yellowish-brown in appearance, with a white belly. Their bodies have black patches and blotches that differ from person to person.

The Size Of Fish

They are a massive type of catfish. The majority of Goonch catfish are roughly 2 m (6.6 ft) long, however they are thought to grow larger. Because of their large size, they have enough ability to drag their victim along with the river current.


How Much They Weigh

It weighs roughly 100 kilos, which is equivalent to that of a newborn baby elephant (220 lbs).


Life Span

The precise lifetime of this fish is unknown at this time. Captive-bred specimens, on the other hand, only survive for around 5 to 10 years.


Male And Female Fish

They have no sexual dimorphism, therefore male and female fish look the same.


Where Can You Find Goonch Catfish?

They live in huge rivers with temperatures ranging from 18 to 23 degrees Celsius (64.4 to 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit). They normally live in pristine settings with pH levels ranging from 7.2 to 7.6 and water hardness levels ranging from 4 to 10°d. It loves to dwell in fast-flowing rivers, particularly in deeper pools. They will never live in a little stream. The Great Kali River is teeming with them.


Goonch Catfish Behaviour

They graze on carnivores and benthic organisms. Smaller fishes, crustaceans, amphibians, and invertebrates that reside near the river bottom serve as prey. If human corpses are available, they will consume them. Because of their massive size and ability to attack any living creature that enters the water, these fish may be quite hazardous.


These fish are infamous about attacking humans, and at least three people have died as a result of Goonch attacks in India. Despite their small size, they are quite powerful and quick swimmers, which allows them to catch their prey. They are also avid feeders.


What Food Do Goonch Catfish Consume?

People used to believe the Goonch catfish ate human flesh. This accusation, however, has yet to be proven. They eat tiny fish, crabs, amphibians, and invertebrates found near the river’s bottom. They will consume human corpses if they are hungry. Goonch catfish have big jaws that may quickly devour a large portion of their meal. During eating, they suction fish and drag them to the bottom.


Breeding of Goonch Catfish

There have been no reports of these fish mating or reproducing. As a result, no one knows how these fish reproduce. Catfish reproduce primarily by spawning. They breed before the monsoon arrives, when rivers swell and become murky. People have seen them in huge numbers during this time period and assume they are mating.


Ecosystem Balance

It is a huge species of catfish that dwells in rivers’ deep waters. Their presence maintains the ecosystem’s equilibrium by keeping other species in check. The Goonch catfish is a super-predator in the river environment. As a result, several organisations protect them in Nature Reserves to maintain ecological equilibrium.

Aquaculture and Fisheries

In the local market, Goonch catfish is in high demand. The local fishermen catch this fish for both culinary and commercial purposes. Traders also export them from India to other nations for commercial aquariums.


Do Goonch Catfish Eat People?

Because Goonch catfish are large predatory fish, they are used to consuming human carcasses (which are common in rivers of India due to their religious belief). While there is no proof of Goonch catfish attacking people, Goonch assaults have been blamed for at least three deaths in India.


Although it seems questionable, locals report that these fish have attacked humans on multiple occasions. There have been no recent confirmed examples of people being killed by Goonch catfish attacks.


There have been three known occurrences of Goonch catfish attacks in the past. Between 1988 and 2007, the attacks occurred in three distinct communities.


The man-eating fish was said to reside on the banks of the Kali River, which flows through India and Nepal.


Nepal had the first documented instance. A Goonch catfish pulled a 17-year-old kid called Dil Bahadur beneath in front of his girlfriend at 1:00 p.m. in April 1988.


The second incident occurred around three months after the first Goonch Catfish Attack, when a little youngster was pulled beneath the river water in front of his father.


The final casualty was an 18-year-old Nepalese teen who was dragged into the river by a “elongated pig.”


What was horrifying was that none of the bodies were discovered afterwards. All three of the above-mentioned instances were said to dwell near the Kali River in Nepal and an adjoining portion of India.


Furthermore, the attacks are thought to have occurred in March or April, before the onset of the monsoon.


Facts about Goonch Catfish


  • Despite their fearsome reputation, villagers catch these fish for food and the aquarium trade.


  • The largest officially reported Goonch catfish captured was 6.5 feet long and weighed 230 pounds. It was taken by Biologist Jeramy Wade from the television show “River Monsters.” He also claimed to have seen considerably larger Goonches weighing between 800 and 2,000 pounds and was unable to catch them.


  • According to local stories, even larger Goonch catfish were caught for food. In 2017, a Bangladeshi news outlet published photographs of a 308-pound Goonch catfish.


  • These critters are usually observed near waterways where Hindu cremation pyres are burned. They scavenge around these places for burnt human body bits.


  • Goonchs are adept at “locking” their place on the riverbed, when someone catches them. They achieve this by pressing their body, fins, and heads against or beneath unyielding riverbed rocks. No amount of rod and line straining can dislodge a huge Goonch after it has been “locked down” in this manner.


  • Because of their massive size, many believe Goonch fish move slowly. However, due to their tremendous strength, they can move quite quickly.



The Goonch catfish is one of the world’s biggest catfish. Because of their unsettling recorded history, they are commonly referred to as man-eating catfish. Locals, on the other hand, catch these fish for food and for the commercial aquarium trade. Goonch catfish are not dangerous and are edible, however their flesh degrades quickly, causing disease. So, these were some of the stunning facts about the Goonch Catfish that you might not be knowing about. What’s your say on this information? We’d be glad if you let us know in the comments section. Also, plan your adventure trip with us and get some of the breathtaking moments of your life.


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