Woman Has Catfish Embedded In Her Stomach Surgically Removed [Graphic Photos]

Aaron Homer

A tourist in Brazil had a rather painful encounter with a catfish, which ultimately led to her requiring surgery to have the beast -- which had embedded itself in her stomach -- removed, the Independent is reporting.

The woman, whose name and age have not been made public, was swimming in the São Paulo beach resort of Itanhaém Friday when the catfish became embedded in her abdomen. Local Brazilian newspaper the Globe says that the catfish did not attack the woman, but rather was thrown into her because of rough seas that day. The animal the reacted as it naturally would when confronted with something it regards as a predator.

Local beach-goer Claudia Pájaro described hearing the woman screaming in pain and rushing out of the surf with the catfish hanging from her stomach.

"She was screaming too. At first I didn't understand what was going on. After I saw the situation I understood. She asked for God's sake and described what was hurting. It was scary."
"We were alerted to an incident where an object had penetrated a swimmer's stomach and when we got there, discovered it was a fish."

"She was in a lot of pain. We didn't remove the spine because only a doctor can do this. We took her to hospital so she could have microsurgery."
"Generally we deal with people who have stood on fish or have cut a finger touching one, but I've never seen a catfish stuck to someone's stomach. It was definitely a first."

Although catfish are generally not aggressive, they will attack with their barbs when threatened, and venomous barbs can be found in species of catfish -- both saltwater and freshwater catfish -- all over the world, according to E-Medicine Health.

"These fish are not aggressive. People stung by catfish are usually fishing or bathing when they make contact with a catfish, usually by stepping on it or handling the fish after it has been caught. Both salt- and fresh-water catfish are dangerous."
"I was stung by a catfish on the soft tissue on the bottom side of my foot. The barb did not break off. The pain was excruciating. I followed the guidelines to alleviate the sting. I was so amazed that such a simple thing as tolerable hot water could provide such relief."

[Image via Shutterstock/Renars 2013]