The river is home to some of the millions of fresh-water type of animals – not to mention its body is being lurk by the creepiest river monsters day and night. These type of monsters are like the ones your mom used to scare you when you’re just a kid. Creatures straight from your nightmare, actually.
A close relative of the piranha, the payara is often called the “vampire fish” because of its long fangs, which can grow to 6 inches in length. This little-known but frightening-looking fish is found in the Orinoco River in Venezuela.
When your name is “Goliath,” you’d better be one humongous, ferocious creature, and the goliath tigerfish definitely lives up to its moniker. A native of the Congo River basin, the Lualaba River, Lake Upemba and Lake Tanganyika in Africa, it’s the largest member of the tigerfish clan, a genus of fierce predators with protruding, daggerlike teeth. The biggest one on record was nearly 5 feet long and weighed 154 pounds, the equivalent of a super-welterweight prizefighter. And it outclasses other African game fish in speed and power.
Not a pretty fish, the African lungfish is a harmless but truly frightening-looking river monster. The largest specimens can reach about 6.6 feet in length. African lungfish are periodically exposed to water with low oxygen content or situations in which their aquatic environment dries up. Their adaptation for dealing with these conditions is an outpocketing of the gut that serves as a lung.
Jeremy Wade holds a 72-pound, 5-foot-long piraiba catfish. These formidable fish can grow to over 10 feet in length and 600 pounds in weight. This powerful fish can drown a wrestling fisherman by dragging him to the bottom of the river. One story tells of a fisherman diving down to untangle a fishing net and vanishing, only to reappear hours later over halfway down the gullet of a giant piraiba.
The Nile perch is considered one of the world’s 100 worst invasive species, though Jeremy caught this one in its native habitat. This species can grow to 6 feet in length and weigh over 500 pounds. This river monster has caused catastrophic declines among native fish populations in areas where it’s been introduced.
Giant River Stingray
We're sorry to inform you that that is in no way Photoshopped or modified, and is, in fact, a 16-foot long stingray. It seems Mother Nature was both lazy and malicious when she sculpted what is basically a king-sized bedsheet, and and then put a 15-inch serrated poison spike on its ass. That barb, by the way, has been known to impale body parts, sometimes skewering them completely and even penetrating bone. Specifically found in Thailand, New Guinea, Borneo and Australia, they live exclusively in rivers in a part of the world where rivers are uniformly murky, making these giant poisonous fish invisible as well. As if you really needed another reason to avoid the Southern Hemisphere.
Alligator gars have been around for 100 million years, and strike fear in the heart of anything that is afraid of large animals with double-row of sharp teeth. They also have pointed scales that are big enough to be used as arrowheads, and hard enough that they cause sparks when struck with an axe. They also have primitive lungs, so they can live for hours out of the water. Found all over the Southern U.S. rivers along the Gulf Coast, they have the tendency to feed on valuable game fish and your children means that fishermen kind of hate them. So much, in fact, that in the 30s in Texas, a man named Colonel J.G. Burr rigged up an "Electric Gar Destroyer" to electrocute the swamps in order to kill them off.