Japanese Hairy Fish

Myst ery Fish of Japan.

Physical description: Scaly, fishlike body. Lengt h, 4-5 feet. Humanlike hair on t he head.

Behavior: Aggressive. Emerges from t he wat er t o fight or play. Emit s loud cries. Said to at t ack and kill humans by disemboweling t hem. Distribution: Unspecified river in Japan. Possible explanation: Dist ort ed account of t he Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus), suggested by David Heppell. It is about the right size, has finlike flippers, barks like a do g, and can be very playful. The Kuril Islands serve as a breeding grounds from May t o June; lit t le is known of t he animal's whereabout s out side t he breeding seaso n.

Sources: Frederic Shoberl, ed., The World in Miniature: Japan (London: R. Ackermann, 1823); Karl Shuker, "Hairy Reptiles and Furry Fish," Strange Magazine, no. 18 (Summer 1996): 26-27.

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