Dutch grey heron catches Amazon fish


Red pacu

Translated from natural history museum Naturalis in Leiden, the Netherlands:

On Monday 14 January, two sanitation workers of Leiden local authority brought a big piranha-like fish from the Maresingel canal in Leiden to Naturalis.

At ten in the morning, Tino van der Zwan and Martie ten Bloemendaal witnessed a struggle between a grey heron and the fish. The heron threw the fish upwards various times; however, it turned out to be too broad for its beak. … In Naturalis, people will be able to see the 32 cm long piranha relative during the coming weeks.

Though the fish belongs to the same family as the piranhas (Characidae), it is not carnivorous. Based on the shape of its teeth, the fish has been provisionally decided to be a red pacu (Colossoma bidens). This species eats mainly nuts and fruits, using its two rows of sharp teeth in both jaws. It can grow up to 85cm and 20kg. The weight of the Leiden specimen is 750g. …

The Leiden red pacu is very probably an aquarium fish, of which the owner thought it was getting too big, and which was then released into open water. Usually, a tropical fish would die soon in the Dutch climate. However, near the effluents of a gas plant like in the Maresingel, where the water does not freeze and has a higher temperature, it apparently can survive. In Naturalis, people are still investigating what the fish ate before the heron almost ate it. …

Some exotic fish, like the north American pumpkinseed, are doing so well in the Dutch climate that they even reproduce. For the tropical red pacu that is very improbable.

Grey heron tries to swallow giant lamprey. Chokes. Dies. Second heron tries same trick. Also chokes. Also dies: here.

Grey heron tries to swallow big tench; photos here.

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2 thoughts on “Dutch grey heron catches Amazon fish

  1. Pingback: 120 great egrets on Tiengemeten island | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dutch great egrets, herons and other birds counted | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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