Fun Vundu Facts For Kids

Vineet Adnala
Oct 20, 2022 By Vineet Adnala
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Keep reading to learn some interesting vundu facts.

Catfishes are slimy creatures with thousands of different species, seen in various sizes ranging usually ranging between 1.5-1.8 in (4.5-4.8 cm). However not many of them are as interesting as the big brown freshwater river monster of the Sub-Saharan Africa region, the vundu catfish.

The vundu catfish, called Heterobranchus longifilis scientifically, happens to be an amazing creature. It is more commonly called the Solomon fish, mazunda, or lenda by the locals.

This fish appears to have a dark shade of olive-brown color on its back which gradually transitions into white by the time it reaches the front of this fish. The origin of this catfish can be traced to the Nile River and its subordinate rivers like the Zambezi River in Africa.

For more interesting catfish facts, check out Cory catfish and Channel catfish.

Vundu Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a vundu?

The vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) is a sub-species of the family of catfishes. They are long, heavy, and strong which make them interesting opponents for fishermen.

This breed of catfish is subjected to fishing as a sport quite often. Unlike other catfish species which are seen flocking in great crowds in shallow waters, these are considered quite uncommon. You will usually find them swimming in much deeper waters compared to many other catfish species in Africa.

What class of animal does a vundu belong to?

In river waters, these brown fishes can often be confused with a snake but they are not related to snakes. Unlike the cold-blooded reptiles, the vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) belongs to the animal class of fish.

How many vundus are there in the world?

There are thousands of species of catfish around the world, more specifically there happens to be over 3000 different types of species of catfish in Africa itself. However, this number cannot be used to determine the number of vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) out there in the world since they are quite rare as compared to other catfish species.

Where does a vundu live?

The Heterobranchus longifilis species of catfish are typically seen to be living in freshwater rivers, where they have ample space to swim and feed. Vundu catfish are mostly found in the Zambezi River which flows between Zambia and Zimbabwe in the Sub-Saharan African region.

What is a vundu's habitat?

The vundu catfish (Heterobranchus longifilis) are typically found in freshwater habitats in Africa. These include various African freshwater rivers like the Senegal River, the Congo River basin, the Omo River, and the Zambezi River. Their abundance has caused an increase in fishing activities here.

Who do vundus live with?

The vundu catfish is seen living by itself in freshwater rivers. They like places where they can swim freely and feed on smaller fishes and invertebrates easily.

How long does a vundu live?

Unlike the Wels catfish which can live for about 60 years or more, the vundu catfish has a much smaller lifespan. The vundu life span ranges up to 12 years or a little more depending upon their health, the surrounding vundu habitat, and their living conditions.

It has also been observed that vundu catfish can live without water for long periods of time.

How do they reproduce?

Vundu catfishes usually breed during the rainy season. The female vundu can lay about 6000-51000 eggs at a time.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN even though they are subject to overfishing, the vundu catfish conservation status stands at Least Concern.

Vundu Fun Facts

What do vundus look like?

Vundu catfish have slimy skin covered in mucus. This fish usually has dark olive-brown color on its back and the front portion of the body is white in color. This catfish can grow as long as 5-6 ft (1.5-1.8 m) in size and can weigh above 132 lb (60 kg)!

Vundu catfish are mostly found in Zambezi river

*We've been unable to source an image of a Vundu. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Vundu, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

The vundu catfish are actually considered to be less appealing compared to other catfish breeds. What makes them special from other catfish is their beautiful color which is seen in the range of olive-brown, dark brown, and light brown.

How do they communicate?

There isn't any uniqueness in the way vundu catfish communicate.

How big is a vundu?

The vundu catfish is one of the biggest fish found on the African continent. These large giants can weigh up to 132 lb (60 kg) while only being about 5-6 ft (152-183 cm) in length.

Vundu size is still less than that of the redtail catfish which has a weight of about 180 lb (81 kg) for the same length.

How fast can a vundu swim?

Vundus are strong and can swim fast enough to give fishermen a tough fight.

How much does a vundu weigh?

The vundu catfish can weigh above 132 lb (60 kg) depending on its length, diet, and habitat.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both the males and females are addressed as vundus. There isn't any unique name for either of them.

What would you call a baby vundu?

A baby vundu is referred to as a either an egg, larva, or fry.

What do they eat?

The vundu diet can range from invertebrates like snails, earthworms, and tiny insects up to small fishes like the drum fish. Even though these happen to be quite small in size, the vundu catfish eats plenty of them enough to grow above the average body size of a common catfish.

Are they aggressive?

These fishes are predators by nature and can put up good fights against people who try fishing them. Being strong, their long slimy bodies allow them to dominate smaller fishes easily. They are generally hidden during the day and active at night time. During the night, they are seen hunting for food all over river regions.

Would they make a good pet?

This large fish belongs in the wild as it requires a lot of space to swim and feed itself. They are not considered to make good pets as it would almost be torturous for them to keep their large body in captivity.

Did you know...

The origin of vundu catfish can be traced to the Sub-Saharan African regions, mostly near the Nile River basin.

They are seen to have a darker shade of color on their backs which gradually gets lighter as it reaches the front portion of their body.

The vundu happen to be demersal fishes and the large-scale vundu distribution is seen in places like Ethiopia, Senegal, and regions around the Nile.

Since the vundu fish is seen to put up a fight, they are considered as a fun catch and this has increased fishing activities for vundus drastically.

How are vundus different from regular catfish?

There are almost 3000 different species of catfishes out there, and the vundu happens to be one of the bigger catfishes. The size of fishes like vundu range from about 5-6 ft (152-183 cm) for fully grown adults which is considered quite large for a fish species like catfish.

This fish can also be distinguished from other fishes by its unique color scheming.

What is the biggest species of catfish?

The Mekong giant catfish is considered to be the largest species of catfish found in the wild. This fish is seen growing up to 10 ft (305 cm) and can weigh above 200 lb (90 kg).

They also live for over 60 years. The largest-ever Mekong giant catfish was found in 2005 and it weighed over 600 lb (270 kg)!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our catfish facts and spiny dogfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable vundu coloring pages.

* Please note that this image is of a dolphin catfish, not of a vundu catfish. If you have an image of a vundu catfish please let us know at

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Written by Vineet Adnala

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Computer Engineering

Vineet Adnala picture

Vineet AdnalaBachelor of Engineering specializing in Computer Engineering

Vineet has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai. With expertise in digital marketing, SEO, content creation, social media marketing, and content strategy. Vineet is also a talented painter and digital artist, with a passion for cooking, music, and football.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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