Giant Catfish


The Mekong River in Thailand is home to some of the world’s largest freshwater fish. Back in 2005, it took fishermen over an hour to haul to shore a Mekong giant catfish they had caught. The fish ended up being almost nine feet long and weighing 646 pounds. This fish was the size of a grizzly bear. Local officials tried to keep the fish alive so it could be released back into the river, but the fish died and the villagers ate it. The Mekong giant catfish is an endangered species and is only found in the Mekong River.

This story is mostly about:

  • A0  A. Thailand.
  • B0  B. grizzly bears.
  • C0  C. a very large freshwater fish.
  • D0  D. the Mekong River.

The story takes place in Thailand on the Mekong River and mentions that the catfish is about the size of a grizzly bear. Those are details about the fish and its habitat, not the main idea of the story.

You can tell from this story that:

  • A1  A. freshwater fish are bigger than saltwater fish.
  • B1  B. there are not many catfish in the world.
  • C1  C. there are lots of Mekong giant catfish in the world.
  • D1  D. Mekong giant catfish are hard to catch.

The story tells us that the Mekong giant catfish is an endangered species so we know that there are not very many of them. We don’t know about other catfish. It doesn’t mention anything about saltwater fish but it does say that it took over an hour to haul to shore, so it must be hard to catch.

The Mekong giant catfish caught in 2005 was:

  • A2  A. released into the river.
  • B2  B. over 700 pounds.
  • C2  C. as big as a grizzly bear.
  • D2  D. four feet long.

The story states that the Mekong giant catfish was the size of a grizzly bear, weighed 646 pounds—which is less than 700 pounds, and was almost nine feet long. The local officials attempted to release it back into the river, but they were unsuccessful.

You can infer that:

  • A3  A. local officials wanted to eat the fish.
  • B3  B. the Mekong River is very shallow.
  • C3  C. the Mekong giant catfish eats cats.
  • D3  D. the Mekong River is a freshwater river.

We learned that the local officials tried to release the fish but were unsuccessful and we learned in the first sentence that the Mekong River is “home to some of the world’s largest freshwater fish”. This implies that the river is a freshwater river since freshwater fish must live in a freshwater environment.

Something to think about:

What other animals are endangered? Why is it important to try to save them?


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