Thursday, 12 August 2010

A tale of a giant eel

I was up in Cumbria last weekend, just passing through from Scotland. I spent my first few years in Cumbria and have subsequently always thought of this as my home, not the South-West. Anyway...

A friend took me up to see the ospreys at Bassenthwaite lake (the 2 chicks have recently fledged) and we were rewarded with a lovely sighting of the male eating a fish (likely a perch). I got talking to one of the volunteers about their diets, and she mentioned that the other week a heron (well known for being very greedy at times) decided to take on a giant eel. Naturally, I asked how big this eel would have been. She said it was very thick for an eel, and was almost bent double to the ground when the heron picked it up.

Now, eels usually get to around a meter in length, but can in a number of documented cases grow up to 1.5 meters, and weights over 11 pounds. So, how large do herons get? Well, a height of around a meter is about right, and so this would make this eel anything from 120cm to 180cm. By any accounts, that’s a very big eel, and a potential British record.

Then again, I’m not so sure if the British anglers associations would be happy about giving the fisherman’s name as “A. Heron”...

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