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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The extraordinary pictures of the giant pike which choked to death as it tried to swallow whole a huge carp

By Simon Tomlinson

I'm stuffed: Hermitage Fisheries owner David Walker with the pike which choked to death after trying to swallow a 3lb carp

With their rows of razor-sharp teeth and predatory instinct, the pike rarely meets its match in the water world.

They are adept at pouncing on fellow fish and have been known to eat voles and even ducklings.

But whether it was over-confidence, desperation or just sheer greed, this 12lb pike decided to gulp down a huge carp - and died trying.

More than it could chew: The carp got wedged in the pike's throat as it tried to swallow the fish whole, choking it to death

The 3ft fish was found floating on the surface of a Suffolk fishery with the 3lb carp stuffed down its throat after choking to death trying to swallow its prey.

It is believed to have prowled the murky depths of a pond there for the last 10 years.

David Walker, who owns Hermitage Fisheries in Clare, near Sudbury, was alerted after the fearsome fish was spotted on the water by one of his regular anglers.

Mr Walker, a farmer who has spent 15 years building the fisheries, said he was stunned by what he saw.

'I went down and I had to get the boat out to row out and see what it was and, to my amazement, it was this 12-and-a-half-pound pike with this 3lb carp stuck down its throat,' he said.

David Plampin, secretary of Bury St Edmunds Angling Association, said such a incident was almost unheard of.

Agonising end: Pike normally eat fish, but rarely anything the size of this carp, which weighed around three times it's usual prey

He said: 'Pike have been known to eat ducklings and perhaps fish of up to 1lbs, but not anything of that size.

'Carp do get slow this time of year and it could have been unwell.

'Pike will usually lay there, wait for their prey to come past and then snap it, but that's a huge fish for a pike to tackle.'

Mr Walker said the pike could be 'a bit of a menace', but was was upset to see this one go.

He said: 'I think it is very sad because I spoke to two fishermen today who had caught the pike and taken a picture of it because it was so big.

'It has obviously been content to eat smaller fish, but as it has become braver it also appears to have got greedier.

'I am really sorry that such a beautiful fish has now been lost.'

The powerful pike, which survived being hooked by at least two fishermen this summer, was close to be immortalised at the fisheries.

Mr Walker asked a taxidermist to stuff the fish so they could be put on display, but, at a £25 an inch, he decided against it.

'So after a couple of days I had to bury it,' said Mr Walker.



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