Hurricane Ian made landfall yesterday afternoon, battering into Florida’s gulf coast and causing extreme devastation in just a matter of hours. From historic flooding to downed power lines, the hurricane has decimated the area and left thousands in the dark. While we know these are commonalities during any storm; however, there’s one odd anomaly that has confused many Floridians.
In fact, something fishy happened on the day Hurricane Ian made touched down on the sunshine state. Just hours before the storm landed, many were left scratching their heads when they saw catfish in their yards.
According to reports from reporter Jennifer Sangalang, she saw two catfish at her home in Melbourne. Weirdly enough, Sangalang doesn’t live near a pond or lake.
After she ventured outside to get a closer look, she said the flopping fish measured about six or seven inches long. She found it in a shallow puddle of water. Then, just hours later, she found another thrashing in the grass in her backyard. She later released both of them to a nearby pond.
@floridatoday Uh, thanks, #hurricaneian! Found a catfish in our driveway (and we don’t live near a lake) 🎥 by @jensangalang #ian #weirdtok #florida ♬ original sound – FLORIDA TODAY
So how did the catfish end up here? While she didn’t reveal which type of catfish it was, some believe they might’ve been walking catfish. These species of catfish, which breathe air and “walk” on their pectoral fins, are native to freshwater in Southeast Asia.
Hurricane Ian: extreme flooding, high winds, and walking catfish
Although that’s across the globe from Florida, they’ve been known to pop up throughout the state in swampy areas such as the Everglades. In addition, they can sometimes be found in storm drainage systems following flooding.
As previously mentioned, some might see them using their pectoral fins to walk or swim through flood waters. This was the case for Dove Goldenberg, who recorded a video of a catfish swimming in his yard in Palm Bay.
Merritt Island resident Becky Blasch also took to Facebook to ask if anyone else had a “yard full of catfish,” saying she found over 14. In fact, she even found some on her welcome mat.
The walking catfish’s arrival is believed to have come from importation by an aquaculture facility in Palm Beach County. However, it also could’ve been from a truck moving brood fish between Miami and Broward County.
After this, they expanded to 20 counties in a decade. The museum added that the fishes’ ability to migrate has likely been “aided by its ability to traverse short over land and potentially enhanced survivorship imparted by parental care of their young.”