Trout Eats 20 Shrews: Researchers Say Animal Stuffed Itself To The Gills

Dan Evon - Author

Sep. 12 2013, Updated 1:22 p.m. ET

Did you know that trouts eat shrews? Did you know that they can eat a lot of them? Researchers in Alaska recently found a rainbow trout with nearly 20 mice in its belly.

The find shocked the researchers for a few reasons. First, the trout was only about 19 inches long, which means that the trout ate enough shrews to literally stuff itself to the gills. Secondly, the researches were baffled that the trout found enough shrews in the water for a little feast.

Mark Lisac, a fish biologist at Alaska’s Togiak Wildlife Refuge, said: “(That’s) an awful lot for one fish to put down… My best guess is that the shrews were on an island [or river bank] that flooded, and the rainbow happened to be in the right spot at the right time.”

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Outdoor Hub writes that shrews are an unusual meal for trout. The fish typically eats insects, fish, and small crustaceans, but the trout apparently also likes to eat shrews. The fish may not get too many chances to feast on the small rodent, but when it gets the opportunity… well, it gobbles up as many as it can.

Lisac said that Trouts are opportunistic eaters, meaning that they will feast whenever they get the chance. Trouts don’t exactly hibernate, but they do slow down a little in the winter. Food also becomes scare so the animals need to be able to go days without a meal.

The fish has a large distensible stomach that allows it to eat big meals — you know, like 20 shrews — that it can store for a long time.


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