Eel Tail Saltwater Catfish Australia: What You Need to Know

Australia is a wild and special place. It has some of the most unusual creatures on Earth, including the eel tail saltwater catfish.

Saltwater catfish Australia is found in coastal waters from Queensland, Western Australia, to Tasmania. They live in rivers and estuaries but also inhabit shallow bays and muddy bottoms. And they have a negative reputation.

This blog post would give you some information on what you need to know about this Australian fish, including the treatment if you got stung by it.

What is Saltwater Catfish Australia?

source: canva


The Cnidoglanis macrocephalus (family Plotosidae) is the only species in the genus Cnidoglanis and a catfish (order Siluriformes) of the family Plotosidae.

This catfish is an Australian fish that has the common names of “cobber,” “estuary cobbler,” “deteira,” “estuary catfish,” “South Australian catfish,” “Eel tail catfish,” and “Swan River catfish.”


The cobbler is found in Australian water, from Main Beach, Queensland to Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Kingston South-Eastern Australia, Southern Australia to Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, and Duck River, Tasmania, in near-shore and reef habitats.

Eel Tail Catfish

Cobbler eel-tail catfish look like a catfish in front and an eel behind. They can grow up to 91 centimeters long and 2,500 grams. They live up to 13 years old.

The dorsal and pectoral fins have sharp, venomous serrated spines. These can hurt people with painful puncture wounds.

Where can I find saltwater catfish?

The marine catfish can be found in brackish estuaries and the mouth of rivers that have sandy or muddy bottoms and temperate waters.

The fish rarely moves to freshwater. Instead, it moves from shallow water to deep water in the winter and enters estuaries in the summer.

The estuary cobbler is an inshore marine species that live in shallow bays and sandy inlets near river mouths.

It is found most frequently over sand, rocks, and weeds in the clear to turbid waters. By day, the estuary cobbler is most often found in holes and on ledges in banks. 

Why Does It Have Negative Reputation?

Because that’s what they are famous for

People don’t know when or how this fish got a bad reputation. But it has one.

It is just that the fish has a bad reputation from generation to generation.

Hard To Clean And Slimy Skin

Maybe it’s because they are so hard to clean? Perhaps it’s because they live at the bottom of the ocean and eat animals that are already dead?

Scales are embedded in the skin. This makes it hard to clean but also means that they have slimy skin.

Venomous Fish Stings

They’re not only capable of delivering a painful sting, but they can also produce chemical poisons in their deadly barbs! These pointed objects are a danger to humans and might harm you if they pierce you.

The good news is that you can usually prevent this skin contact with a good pair of fishing pliers.

Watch Out For The Spines

One thing to look out for when handling catfish of any type is their venomous spines!

The fishes have three sharp spikes. One of the spikes is at the beginning of the dorsal fin and one on each pectoral fin. If you get poked by a spike, it will hurt a lot.

How to Treat a Catfish Sting

Although some species of catfish are more toxic than others, they’re all hazardous, mainly if you come into contact with the fish’s wrong side.

The sting of a catfish is dangerous. It is difficult and can lead to skin irritation and severe infection.

Before you go out on the seas, be sure to follow the proper safety precautions to reduce the likelihood of being stung. As a result, you may avoid a lot of discomfort and aggravation.

What happens if you get stung by a saltwater catfish?

Both saltwater and fresh water catfish stings are dangerous. They each have three sharp spines and a stinging apparatus.

If you have been stung by a catfish and got puncture wounds, the pain and inflammation will be severe. Get help from a doctor if this happens.

How to handle saltwater catfish?

If you catch a catfish, take your time. Handle it carefully. Don’t touch the fins.

Always make sure that you have a tool to grab the fish with. For example, you can use pliers or a fish gripper.

If it looks like things are getting messy, cut the hook off. Then, when you choose between losing a hook and being hit by a catfish fin, let go of the hook and save yourself from getting hurt.

How to Treat a Saltwater Catfish Sting?

Anyone who has had a catfish sting and another fish will tell you that the catfish sting is more painful.

The severity of the sting depends on where the barb hit you, how severe the injury is, and if any foreign matter is left in the wound from broken-off spines.

The sharp bony spine produces a laceration and simultaneously leaves venom in the wound.

People with certain health conditions may even have more severe reactions to the sting. The stings can also induce allergic reactions.

A rash or localized redness at the sting site may remain for hours to days.

If you are stung by a catfish, you need to do several things:

Get off the water.

A sting can make you feel sick and leave you feeling dizzy. It would help if you went toward shore quickly so that the illness is not dangerous.

Do not use ice.

The cold makes the toxins more powerful and hurts like they could not hurt before.

Hot water immersion.

When you are hurt, put the injured area in water as hot as you can stand. This will help to the reduction in pain.

Researchers say that it is best not to let water get too hot. They recommend no hotter than 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

The severe pain should be less after half an hour. However, in some more severe cases, it can take hours to become less painful.

Monitor the injury closely.

If you have swelling, redness, or tenderness in your body, see a doctor or medical treatment.

If you get a catfish sting, the wound can become infected. Doctors can give you antibiotics and analgesia for the sting site to help cure the infection and ensure no dangerous material is inside your injury.

Can You Eat Australian Catfish?

Are They Safe To Eat?

Yes, you can eat saltwater catfish! They’re entirely safe to eat.

Many people enjoy eating them, and they’re not dangerous to eat.

Are Saltwater Catfish Poisonous?

While Saltwater Catfish do have poison in their spines that can make their sting extremely painful, they are not poisonous to eat.

They’re not dangerous to humans if cooked properly. They should never be eaten raw or alive.

Does saltwater catfish taste good?

They are socially acceptable fish that taste much like freshwater catfish but more like a Whiting or Sea Trout.

This saltwater variety tastes like, if not better than freshwater catfish.

It is light white meat with only slightly less fat than freshwater catfish.

How To Clean a Saltwater Catfish

Cleaning this ocean catfish is more complicated than cleaning a freshwater catfish. It’s slimier, and it takes more time to clean.

This makes them very slippery, so you need to have a good hold on them before cleaning.

Regardless of whether you want to filet or skin the fish, we suggest that you get a cutting board with a clamp on it.

This thing has made cleaning fish easier. It is less dangerous too.


Why is catfish not good for you?

Catfish have low levels of mercury. Mercury is a metal that can be toxic to your body. For example, if you overeat, it will poison your kidneys and nervous system.

Do saltwater catfish have teeth?

Catfish have tiny teeth. You’re mistaken if you think they are strong. They are like sandpaper.

 Why do catfish taste so bad?

Off-flavor tastes in catfish come from certain algae and bacteria that grow in ponds with lots of nutrients. The taste can be musty, muddy, woody, sewage, or even like diesel.

What are the types of saltwater catfish?

There are two types of saltwater catfish – Hardhead catfish and Gafftopsail catfish.

Hardhead is the most common of the two saltwater species. They have a brownish to gray-green body, a white to yellowish belly, and can grow up to 24 inches (12 pounds).