About This Animal
SIZE: They can grow over 4 feet
RANGE: The redtail catfish is native to the Amazon, Orinoco, and Essequibo river basins of South America
HABITAT: These freshwater fish can be found in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds throughout the Amazon and Orinoco River Basins in South America
DIET: Quite an opportunistic feeder in nature, feeding on fish, invertebrates and fallen fruits
ON EXHIBIT: River Giants exhibit in River Journey
The Redtail Catfish is a pimelodid (long-whiskered) catfish named for its red or orange caudal fin. The barbels along their snout are extremely sensitive and loaded with chemical reception cells, acting as another sense of smell for the fish. Due to their large size, the indigenous people in South America utilize these fish as a food source. They have been introduced into Florida, but have not established a sustainable population. It is a slow-moving, bottom-dwelling fish that is thought to attack prey by probing and ambush.