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German Jaws

German fishermen are warning that there could be fresh attacks on swimmers from giant catfish after one reportedly ate a young swan - and another bit a schoolgirl on the leg.

Fishermen say they are baffled as to why the catfish, which have no natural predators and grow their entire lives, are now suddenly growing to such extreme sizes.

German media reported about one monster fish close to nine feet long (2.5 meters).

And with huge appetites as they get older some local lakes and rivers have been emptied of other fish - with the catfish that remain feasting on each other as cannibals. German Angler's Association boss Manfred Holzner said: "It is a worrying turn that they are now eating members of their own species and shows how bad things have become."

Swimmers at Berlin's Schlachtensee lake are refusing to go in the water after a string of attacks by a monster cat fish.

One girl was left with a seven inch bite after it savaged her leg as she swam towards the lake's beach. "We were in the water and just swimming around and it latched onto my leg. It felt like a bite. We bolted away and then it started bleeding," said victim Katharina Saxe.

Another victim, teenager Jonas Wegg, said: "I was suddenly bitten on my right calf when I was swimming the other day. I felt something huge and slippery. It was a real shock."

Ducks and even swans on the Isen River in Upper Bavaria have also reportedly been targeted by a catfish with one man out walking his dog saying he saw a young swan suddenly vanish underwater.

Fishermen meanwhile have little chance to act. Catfish are notoriously tricky to catch, and nets are generally outlawed in the affected waters.

German Herald

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