Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chasing the giant long-finned eel

A tip of the adventurer's cap to Jeremy Wade for yesterday's "River Monsters" outing. which focused on an unknown but plausible freshwater mankiller: New Zealand's long-finned eel. We know it gets 4-6 feet long and lives to be very old, but two modern accounts of divers being attacked say it gets considerably larger. An eight-foot specimen, which an eel biologist tells Wade is quite possible, would weigh over 100 pounds, and there are plenty of people claiming to have seen them - including one Maori who gave his account to Captain Cook. Wade didn't catch one, but he thinks they exist, and the scene of Wade trying to lure one out by putting on Kevlar shorts and gloves and wading in after smearing himself with fish guts was pretty scary when a host of 3 - 4 foot eels appeared for what must have smelled like a fest to them.

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