What lies beneath... British filmmaker hunts down some of the world's most bizarre-looking and frightening freshwater monsters of the deep


Jaw-dropping: The Goliath Tiger Fish, known by its Latin name Hydrocynus goliath was found in the Congo River. The biggest Tiger Fish on record was nearly 5ft long and weighed 154lbs, the equivalent of a super-welterweight prizefighter

Some are the size of a horse, some can paralyse you with a 500-volt electric shock and some are said to have developed a taste for testicles.
Beneath the still waters of the world's rivers lie a wealth of sharp-toothed, slithery and terrifying-looking creatures which send shivers down the spines of the locals who regale gruesome stories about their unpleasant underwater neighbours.
But intrepid British filmmaker Jeremy Wade has ignored conventional wisdom to track down the world's most frightening freshwater fish to find out just how scary they really are.

To the point: Intrepid explorer Jeremy Wade with a Payara fish. The animal is known as the Dog Tooth Characin or the Vampire Fish, due to its protruding front dentures

Watch out! Jeremy goes to extreme lengths to solve local legends about mysterious creatures of the deep, often finding the reality can be a lot more scary

The adventurer has hunted out the array of bizarre-looking animals for his new series of 'River Monsters' in which he tackles frightening fresh water sting rays, wrestles Japanese salamanders and even swims with the huge Indian 160lb goonch catfish.
Jeremy said what kept him going was a desire not only to see the unseen but to make people aware that the creatures were more under threat from man than man was from them.

Gotcha! The plucky adventurer grapples with a stingray on the banks of the Parana River in Argentina. Most stingrays have one or more barbed stings on their tail, which are used exclusively in self-defence

He said the perfect river monster was 'big and outlandish - looking like it shouldn't be anywhere near people'.
He said: 'Finding it is the first thing, but conservation is inextricably bound up with that. People can't be expected to care about something if they don't even know of its existence.

Slippery customer: Jeremy clings onto the tail of the stingray. With its beige and black skin tones the animal is perfectly camouflaged in the sandy bed of the Parana River

'A lot of these animals have never been seen by TV audiences, because you can't make conventional natural history programmes about them, thanks to the poor or nonexistent visibility in most fresh water.
'The fishing line is just a means to an end. Having seen it, I then return it to the water.
'Although potentially dangerous to people, many of these 'monsters' are misunderstood; only in rare instances - such as a giant snakehead protecting its young - do they wilfully attack people.

source: dailymail