Friday, January 11, 2013

Pike bit off more than it could chew

Anglers are scratching their heads after a pike was found dead with a zander - a fish of similar size - jammed in its mouth in the Netherlands. Rene Spaargaren, from Almere near Amsterdam, noticed the dead fish locked together in water near his home and dragged them out with a boat hook.

"It was clear that the pike had bitten off more than it could chew - or swallow, rather," he said. Mr Spaargaren came across the fish while doing some work by his jetty this week. Having calculated roughly that the pike measured about 1m (3.2ft) long and the zander about 75cm (2ft 5in), with a combined weight of about 15 kilos (33lb), he threw them back in the water.

British angling expert Charles Jardine said the event was "really unusual". "What on Earth possessed the pike to take on prey that size?" he asked. "Gluttony just killed that fish." Mr Jardine explained that the zander, sometimes known as the "pike-perch" because of its similarities to the two other species of fish, was an unusual choice of target for a pike.

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"A pike is not an alligator or a python - it will not accommodate similar-sized food," he said. "Because the teeth on a pike go backward, it would have been unable to release its grip on the zander. It was a death grip for the fish." Mr Jardine added: "I have seen Victorian pictures of such things, done with artistic licence, but nobody gave them much credence."

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