Drunk Man Swallows Venomous Catfish

Stock photo of catfish swimming in a body of water.
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There are countless drinking games and traditions to be found worldwide, but it seems none of them were enough for one group of friends in the Netherlands. So, inspired by an old episode of MTV’s Jackass, the group decided to invent their own dangerous challenges. However, things took an unexpected turn and landed one of the men in the emergency room, according to a report from Fox News.

The specific episode of the stunt comedy series which provided inspiration for the drunk men featured Steve-O performing a stunt called “The Goldfish Trick,” where he swallowed a live goldfish and then immediately try to induce vomiting to return the fish to its bowl. The group of friends clearly thought this was a brilliant idea and decided to recreate the trick while reportedly under the influence of alcohol and ecstasy.

According to a report from the University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the group of friends began their game by swallowing goldfish from a home aquarium. The goldfish reportedly “passed smoothly” and caused no immediate harm to the men. However, the goldfish soon ran out and that’s when one of the men, an unidentified 28-year-old, volunteered to swallow another kind of fish swimming around the tank.

Unfortunately for the drunk fellow, this fish reportedly ended up putting up a fight and did not pass as smoothly as the others. The fish turned out to be a venomous bronze catfish with sharp barbs called Corydoras aeneus, also known as the “Cory” catfish. The fish lodged its sharp barbs into the man’s throat which prevented it from being swallowed, then released a poison.

While the poison is considered to be “generally harmless,” the animal’s spikes posed a serious problem.

The doctors who penned the report stated that the man was “clearly in distress” and that he tried using “two fingers to induce [his] gag reflex.” His friends also tried to help by performing the Heimlich maneuver, but all efforts proved futile and the man continued to gag while spitting blood into a bucket.

“After several hours of unsuccessful self-applied treatment with more beer, honey, and ice cream, the patient finally presented himself to the emergency department,” the doctors wrote.

While at the hospital, surgery was performed to safely remove the fish from the man’s throat and luckily for him, his “esophagus showed no signs of perforation.”

According to a report from the Daily Mail, the remains of the Cory catfish are currently on display at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam. It was made a part of an attraction called the Dead Animal Tales exhibit, which aims to show the “dramatic consequences” that occur when humans interact with animals.