Something fishy: Hurricane Ian is causing catfish to turn up in Florida yards

  • In Business
  • 2022-09-28 22:31:20Z

Something fishy happened on the day Hurricane Ian made landfall.

Hours before Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa in southwest Florida, its impacts were being felt in Brevard County in the eastern part of the state by way of catfish appearing in driveways and yards.

USA TODAY Network-Florida producer Jennifer Sangalang spotted two catfish at her home near Wickham Park in Melbourne, about 50 miles southeast of Orlando. Sangalang doesn't live near a pond or lake. One fish measured about 6 or 7 inches long and was found flopping in the driveway in a shallow puddle of water. Hours later, another was found thrashing in the grass in her backyard. Both were released to another neighborhood pond.

Live updates: Hurricane Ian makes landfall on Florida's southwest coast as major Category 4 storm

Hurricane Ian tracker: Where is powerful storm headed next?

How did they end up there? Though the type of catfish wasn't confirmed Wednesday, it's possible they were walking catfish. These catfish, which breathe air and "walk" on their pectoral fins, are native to freshwater in Southeast Asia. However, they are found throughout Florida in swampy areas like the Everglades, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. They are sometimes found in storm drainage systems, which they may emerge from during floods.

You might spot them using their pectoral fins to walk, or swimming through flood waters, like Dove Goldenberg, who recorded a TikTok video of a catfish swimming in a flooded yard in Palm Bay.

Merritt Island resident Becky Blasch took to Facebook to ask if others had a "yard full of catfish," saying she had spotted more than 14 in her yard and even on her welcome mat.

'Catastrophic flooding': Forecasters say Ian could douse Florida for days

How bad is Hurricane Ian?: So bad that Florida Waffle Houses are closing

Initially from South Asia, the walking catfish's introduction to Florida is believed to be linked to an importation by an aquaculture facility in Palm Beach County or a truck transporting brood fish between Miami and Broward County, according to the Florida Museum. Since then, they have spread to 20 counties in 10 years, with the museum adding that the fishes' ability to spread has likely been "aided by its ability to traverse short over land and potentially enhanced survivorship imparted by parental care of their young."

It is illegal to possess and transport live walking catfish in Florida, FWC said, noting that fisherman should immediately put them on ice if they want to try eating them. AZ Animals reports they are considered a tasty fish in their native home and are "fairly safe" to eat.

Follow Finch Walker on Twitter: @_finchwalker.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Hurricane Ian: 'Walking catfish' found Florida yards, driveways


More Related News

Florida's average gas prices drop and are expected to decline further

Gas prices in Florida continue to slacken amid global jitters over the demand for oil and an increase in output from U.S. oil refineries.

Florida deputy killed after officer roommate
Florida deputy killed after officer roommate 'jokingly' fires gun he thought was unloaded, officials say
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 15:15:22Z

A 23-year-old Florida sheriff's deputy was fatally shot by his fellow deputy roommate over the weekend, in what the sheriff described as a "clearly dumb and ...

'Reckless actions': Deputy accused of shooting and killing fellow cop in Florida home
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 14:26:10Z

The sheriff called the 23-year-old's death "totally avoidable."

Airplane crash in Gulf of Mexico leaves 2 dead, 1 missing
Airplane crash in Gulf of Mexico leaves 2 dead, 1 missing
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 11:46:08Z

A private airplane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast Saturday night, with two people confirmed dead as authorities searched for a third...

Community mourns 23-year-old Brevard County deputy killed in off-duty accident
Community mourns 23-year-old Brevard County deputy killed in off-duty accident
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 03:27:53Z

New details have been released about the death of 23-year-old Brevard County Deputy Austin Walsh.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Business