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10 Fish That Target Terrestrials

fish that hunt terrestrials

Here are some amazing examples of water dwelling creatures that hunt outside of the box.

When fly fishing, anglers have understood for many years how important terrestrial insects are to the trout and salmon that they target. Food sources can come and go in the wild, but evolution has decided, for some, to create a means by which some fish could leave the water column or water flow to chase down things which once were only available to land animals.

Food chain items such as small fish or even fish eggs may still be on the menu, but now something even more exciting began to arise. Somewhere along the line, these fish discovered there was more to dinner than just what swam among them.

From Africa all the way to Alaska, food webs are replete with cases of fish that found something else to eat. Terrestrial patterns have a place in trout waters, but did you know some fish don't even need the the water? Whether it's in a large lake or fast-moving water, the food chain has changed and fish no longer need to eat other fish.

1. Wels catfish

The scourge of western Europe, the Wels is an eating machine of epic proportions that's now been documented attacking and eating pigeons of all things. They're only successful 28 percent of the time, but when food is available, it's time to dine for these monsters.

2. Archer fish

How can we not fall in love with a diminutive fish that shoots its prey down? This pistol-mimicking little fish loads the clip with water and fires as accurately as you could imagine, knocking insects from the overhanging branches of nearby plants.

3. Arowana

The silver arowana is a hunter from the South American waters that has developed an incredible ability to leap. It's not just bugs that this fish craves, but birds and snakes, t00

4. Tiger shark

Known as the garbage cans of the sea, the tiger shark can and will eat anything that gets too close or looks like food. In places like Hawaii, young albatrosses learning to fly are a tempting treat, and these sharks have reportedly even gobbled songbirds in the Gulf of Mexico.

5. Travally

The giant trevally is known for cruising the area around the Seychelle Islands looking for unsuspecting sea birds that have no idea what's coming. The feeding strategy of these awesome gamefish is to get in behind their prey as subdue them with speed and power.

6. Brown trout

The Salmo trutta is one of the most popular game fish out there, and anglers have even tried mouse imitations to catch them. These aggressive stream and lake dwellers will also attack a seemingly endless array of insect patterns.

7. Tigerfish

A group of researchers from North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, have now confirmed that the tigerish will actively leap and catch birds, such as swallows. One of the scariest looking fish for an angler to target, the tigerish is nonetheless an admirable foe with rod and reel.

8. Snakehead

The snakehead is one of the few fish that'll leave the water to hunt. They'll eat water birds, rodents and snakes due to their ability to leave the water and even breathe the air. Even though they're terrific fighters, the fish is mostly known as an invasive nuisance.

9. Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout--and incidentally grayling--in Alaska have been known to devour shrews, mice and any other non-aquatic vermin that mistakenly swim by them. Finding your rainbow full of land animals is not the exception, but the rule during certain high cycles of the rodent world.

10. Largemouth bass

In this particular clip, we see a bass attacking a duckling. While waterfowl live in and around the water, our favorite gamefish has been known to take on anything it can catch, including songbirds, lizards, turtles, salamanders, eels, mice, snakes and plenty of redwing blackbirds.

We have to give an honorable mention to pike and muskellunge which will also eat anything they can catch. Fishermen ply their love of angling in the attempt to catch that one fish they'll remember for the rest of their lives, and then keep right on fishing!

Photo via USFWS

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10 Fish That Target Terrestrials