Elephant Nose Fish

The Elephant Nose is a dark brown to black colored fish with yellowish-white vertical stripes from its side to rear fin. It has a low mouth and an extendable jaw that looks like the trunk of an elephant, giving the fish its name. Elephant fish can grow to be as large as 9 inches long, but are usually smaller--about 5 inches or so. The elephant fish has fairly weak eyesight, so it has found another way to direct itself in the water: it gives off electrical pulses! These pulses act like sonar, bouncing off objects in the water and varying in strength depending on the depth and clarity of the water the fish is swimming into.

This unusual fish is naturally found in muddy, dark waters with lots of plant life near Niger and the Congo River basins. They like moderate depths and usually stay near the bottoms of ponds or rivers, comming out from under rocks and sea plants only at night. Elephant noses eat brine shrimp, bloodworms, and tubifex worms or any other small water creature they can find using their electrical pulses. They are fairly shy and peaceful and do not stay in waters with many other kinds of aggressive fish. However, they are very territorial and will stay in the same region for many years.

Not much is known about the breeding of elephant nose fish--at this point humans cannot tell males and females apart.

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