We found the following email in our mailbox the other day. Apparently it’s been making the rounds on the Chinese-language internet:
Each year, a few people will be drowned mysteriously in Huadu’s Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently when the brother of a certain official went swimming in the reservoir with his friend and were drowned that the secret was unravelled!
It’s a 3 metre long man-eating catfish whose head alone is 1 metre wide! After cutting up the catfish people were surprised to find the remains of a man inside!
Because this was a huge incident, and the local government was afraid of the impact on local tourism, they imposed an embargo on the news, but people came away with these pictures taken on their cell phones of the man-eating fish!
Swimming in the reservoir is now forbidden because it is feared another similar man-eating catfish is still lurking in the waters.
Now we’re not experts on aquatic life and can’t confirm to you if that is really some mutant form of the clarius batrachus (walking catfish) as the email suggested (where are the whiskers?), but some netizens have already raised doubts saying this is a whale shark (鲸鲨) instead. Now you decide for yourself: Does it look more like the walking catfish or the whale shark? And if it is the whale shark, which is “vulnerable to extinction” according to Wikipedia, why did they kill it? Well, perhaps because they thought it killed a bunch of people. But how did they find it, and catch it, and why did they kill it and chop it up in such a public manner, we wonder? We bet scientists would have liked to see this alive first (we imagine saltwater whale sharks don’t pop up in freshwater reservoirs too often … nor, we guess, do 30cm catfish regularly turn into three-meter mutants).
But wait. The Huadu government has also made a statement to dissociate itself from the post, saying that the contents of the post do not match the photos. Also, no sighting of any large man-eating fish has been reported, and that no deaths have occurred in the reservoir between 25 July of last year and now.
As we have been accused of doing so in the past, we might choose to side with the government on this one. Seems very likely that these are pics of a random whale shark killing that a prankster decided to spread around masked as the Huadu Reservoir man-eating monster. It would seem the prank was a success.
But you never know … especially in Chinese waters. Swim at your own risk.
More pictures after the jump. See for yourself the remains of a human body inside the monster!?! Or maybe not. (We are, if you haven’t guessed, skeptical.)
Thanks to reader Jonas Chau for the tip! And yes, adding a question mark to the headline grants us “complete blogger immunity.”