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Wels Catfish

Wels Catfish Facts

Size 47-63 inch (120-160 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight 22-110 lb (10-50 kg)
Lifespan 50-80 years
Food Ducks, fish, birds
Predators -
Habitat Rivers and lakes in Europe
Order Siluriformes
Scientific name Silurus glanis
Characteristics Eel-like body; gray-brown; large eyes; massive mout

Main Characteristics

Author NaimaThe wels catfish is the largest freshwater fish in Europe. It has long barbels around its mouth that look like antennae or feelers. It can use its barbels to feel and even taste the ground - like a tongue.

Wels Catfish Wels Catfish - Photo: Kletr/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

How Big Do Wels Catfish Get?

“What a catch!” is surely what every fisher thinks when they see a fully grown wels catfish at the end of their line. The wels catfish usually grows to 47-63 inch (120-160 cm) long and weighs up to 110 lb (50 kg). It’s rare that these fish get any bigger or heavier.


But there are more and more reports of giant wels catfish that are 9.8 to 16.4 feet (3 to 5 meters) long and weigh 440-881 lb (200-400 kg). It seems like some people might be exaggerating. In 2015, a wels catfish was found in the Italian river of Po weighing 279 lb (127 kg) and measuring 8.75 feet (2.67 meters) long.

Wels Catfish Wels Catfish - Photo: Kletr/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

The Animal With the Best Sense of Taste

When finding food, the wels catfish’s eyes don’t play a major role. It has a very good sense of taste and smell that it can rely on. The wels catfish has the most taste buds of all animals: over 250,000.

Life Expectancy

How Old Can Catfish Get?

The wels catfish can live to be 50, sometimes even 80 years old.


Between May and June, the male digs a trough. In this trough, the female lays 200,000 eggs. The male then fertilizes them.


These facts were submitted by fan Naima. Thanks! Do you want to write a fan factsheet?

Wels Catfish Wels Catfish - Photo: Kletr/Shutterstock


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