Out of a large red ice box, Chris Letts from the Hudson River Foundation pulls out a cat fish (also known as bull heads) caught on the Hudson River by a fishermen. His young audience sits at picnic tables at Croton Point Park, mouths agape just as the fish is, some let out a gasp of fascination and delight. Mr Letts points to the tail and spreads it out, explaining how the cat fish has a slightly dipped, wide tail which basically is a sign of a slow, strong swimmer. He moves on to the “whiskers” which he mentions are called barbells. They act like sensory tongues outside of the mouth that detect food.
“For protection”, Mr Letts pulls on the dorsal fin on the back, “they have serrated spines they can lock into position”. A child whispers out loud, “Cool…”
An excited student yells out, “I will pay you for the fish so I can take it home so my mom can cook it.” Mr Letts smiles mentioning the fish is for study and not for sale.