What Do Catfish Do in a Drought?

As catfish have a special ability to breathe outside the water, they often live in drought-prone areas. When there is a drought, catfish don’t die immediately like most other fish, but try to find a new place with sufficient water or at least sufficient moisture. Although such searching is a very painful thing to do for them, they can survive most of the time in that sort of situation. Usually, just after facing a drought, they start moving forward in a flip-flop motion and try to find a natural or artificial water reservoir to live in. But sometimes, when this option is unavailable, they look for wet, well-moisturized, and deep mud to immerse in.

They can easily stay alive in properly moisturized mud for several months. They can go on moving for almost 15 to 18 hours if their skin is wet. Then when the rain starts again, they start moving to find a better water-filled lake or river to live on and move more comfortably.

Catfish start moving forward to find a water reservoir as soon as possible whenever they have to face a drought. When no water reservoir is available near their previous location, they immerse themselves in wet mud, and then, whenever it rains again, they return to a nearby pond, river, or lake.

How Can Catfish Survive Out of Water?

The catfish is one of those unique fish that can breathe outside of water. They have a special lung-like organ called- suprabranchial that helps them breathe when there is no water around them.

A suprabranchial is a large organ with two separate chambers and a few other branches above the gills of catfish. It does the work that lungs do for us, helping catfish breathe oxygen from the surrounding air. It does not work as well as our lungs, but it at least helps catfish survive a while when they are out of water. It helps them to live and move forward during a drought or other concerning situations. Also, it allows them to live in mud for months or more.

Their skin is special, too, as it can absorb oxygen, but the skin must stay wet to absorb oxygen. For this reason, catfish cannot survive on completely dried land for more than an hour. Their special lung-like organ called suprabranchial and oxygen-absorbing skin helps catfish live out of water for like an hour and allows them to survive in wet mud for months.

A fish in a drought

How long can catfish live out of water?

Catfish die within an hour when removed from the water. Some catfish have survived 18 hours. If your catfish survives a few hours, it’s a success. During a drought, catfish become more voracious eaters. As you might expect, catfish become more voracious eaters during droughts. In order to survive, they need more food than usual, and this is called hyperphagia. Then, the fish will be forced to adapt to their diet. Catfish are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything that fits in their mouths. This includes insects, fish, plants, and other organic matter. They have powerful jaws that can crush snails, clams, and other hard-shelled organisms.

When water levels rise again due to rainfall or irrigation projects, catfish will return to their natural behaviour of remaining motionless at the bottom of the riverbeds by day, then feeding at night upon whatever prey they encounter passing by them. Catfish eat anything they can find and consume more than their bodies require. This may be why catfish thrive in times of drought: their metabolism increases to maintain their body mass despite less-than-optimal conditions for growth and reproduction.

A Few Tips for Catching Catfish

You need to follow a few basic rules or tips to master catching plenty of catfish at a time. Those tips are listed down below:

●                Try using chicken liver or large shrimp as bait to catch catfish successfully. Don’t forget to use fresh shrimp and remove the shrimp’s skin and tail, but slightly frozen chicken liver will work almost equally well as the fresh one.

●                Although these two are the best baits for catching catfish, people often catch them using other baits like nightcrawlers, catfish dough baits, minnows, cut-up small fish, garlic balls, and blood worms too.

●                It would be best if you used spring table hooks to catch catfish with chicken liver bait. This type of hook will hold the bait strongly, and you will be able to catch more fish using less bait.

●                It is always better to catch catfish at night than to catch them during the daytime. The best time for catching catfish is the last hour of the night. Take proper precautionary steps to stay safe from mosquitoes and other bugs, and then start fishing at night.

●                Stay still and silent while catching catfish. Catfish don’t fall for bait that is moving. If you make any noise or play music, the catfish will not come near you as the sound bothers them.

Fun Facts about Catfish

There are plenty of fun facts you would love to know about catfish. Among them, the most interesting ones are mentioned below: Each catfish’s body is covered with nearl

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