Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Small Trout Devours Nearly 20 Shrews

If fish had competitive eating championships, a small rainbow trout in Alaska might hold a record in the "shrew" category.

Researchers recently opened up a rainbow trout in Alaska's Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and were surprised to find the fish had eaten nearly 20 shrews, a mouse-size mammal.

To make matters stranger, the fish was relatively small, measuring only 19 inches (48 centimeters) long, said Mark Lisac, a fish biologist at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. 

That's "an awful lot for one fish to put down," Lisac told LiveScience. That said, rainbows and related fish species have been known to eat shrews and other small mammals, including rodents, and many species of freshwater fish are opportunistic feeders that will chow down on a wide variety of prey, he said.

This rainbow trout report trumps the previous record of seven shrews eaten (at least that Lisac is aware of), which was held by a grayling, another species of fish that "keys in on shrews even more" than rainbows, Lisac said. 

But how did the rainbow end up with such a large shrew meal?

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