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Jungle Jaws Facts

Zeb Hogan holding Wallago Catfish caught in Taman Negara National Park. The Wallago Catfish is a pure carnivore, equipped with formidable jaws and a double band of saw-like teeth designed to attack.

Zeb Hogan holding Wallago Catfish caught in Taman Negara National Park. The Wallago Catfish is a pure carnivore, equipped with formidable jaws and a double band of saw-like teeth designed to attack. (View larger version)

Photograph by NGT

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  • Wallago are reported to grow to over two meters long and weigh 50 kilograms (110 pounds). The official world record catch weighed in at 18.6 kilograms (41 pounds).

  • Prowling the rivers of Southeast Asia, wallago are renowned for their aggressive nature and voracious appetite.

  • Wallago are ferocious carnivores rumored to eat prey as large as monkeys, ducks, and, some stories claim, even small humans!

  • Wallago catfish have a blunt-nosed face and an elongated body, with huge mouth and numerous sharp teeth.

  • Taman Negara, Malaysia, where wallago catfish are found, is reputed to be one of the world's oldest tropical rain forests at 130 million years old.

  • Melembah Village in Borneo, Indonesia, is home to the Dayaks, a people who have been fishing for wallago for centuries.

  • Melembah Village is located deep in the forests of Borneo, Indonesia and takes three days to get there from its closest neighbor Malaysia – that's three flights, a six hour car ride, and one full day by boat.

  • Locals believe that three out of six lakes around Melembah Village have mystical powers. Many taboos are carefully adhered to, to prevent misfortune when villagers go fishing.

  • One of the most popular methods for catching wallago involves tying a line with live bait fish and attaching it to a strong and flexible branch of a tree along a river or lake.

  • The waters of Meliau teem with wallago, and the possibility of catching large wallago, or "Tapah" as the local people call them, on a daily basis is high.

  • Local fishermen consider October as the month for harvesting, as this is when wallago lay their eggs and swim to other rivers and streams to eat smaller fish.

  • Wallago are difficult to breed in captivity due, in part, to their cannibalistic behavior.

  • Overfishing has led to the overall decrease in the population of wallago over the years in many areas.

  • It is rumored that there is a wallago the size of a Volkswagen in Lake Kenyir, Malaysia.

  • Tattoos of animals were inked on the fingers of Dayaks who had cut off people's heads, as a mark and recognition of their participation in a successful head-hunting raid.

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