Do Catfish Have Hair? Do They Have Whiskers?

Catfish tend to live in muddy water and dark oceans, and they need help detecting their food and their enemy bodies with their limited sight ability. That’s where their whiskers come in. 

Do catfish have hair? Catfish don’t have hair. Instead, they have whiskers made of skin to help them figure out shapes, smells, and tastes. They are called barbles which make it easier for the fish to find their food in dark and muddy water. The catfish whiskers are totally different than cat whiskers.

Catfish are quite the wonderful creatures in their own, weird way. Keep reading to learn more about Catfish whiskers and why some people believe they have hair. 

Do Catfish Have hair?

Catfish to answer do catfish have hair or whiskers

While the Catfish’s whiskers are one of the reasons they named it “catfish” because they have whiskers like the cat and dog. But in fact, a catfish’s whiskers are made of skin while the cat’s whiskers are made of hair.

Do Catfish have whiskers? 

Catfish do have whiskers. They have two whiskers on their upper jaw, one on each mouth side, and four on their chin, and each one has many tiny taste buds and special olfactory sensors. Also, there are some catfish that have only four or six whiskers. 

They use their whiskers as a food detector because catfish are partially blind and especially at night, while they live in muddy water. Catfish have a reputation as night hunters, and they use their whiskers to spot their prey.

Do catfish taste with their whiskers? 

The catfish whiskers are covered with skin, located around their mouth, and loaded with cells. 

So they can use their barbels as taste puds and identify their food before putting it in their mouth. That is why Catfish always keep their barbels up while eating, using them to taste and smell their food.

How do catfish whiskers work?

Catfish utilize their whiskers in the water by using the taste sensors to detect enzymes in the water, which help the fish to determine whether this body is potential food or an enemy and a source of danger. 

Moreover, they use it to find a safe area on the seafloor to put their eggs.

Do catfish whiskers sting?

Catfish whiskers look scary to us as they are long and sharp like swords, but they are soft and pliable, and Catfish do not use their whiskers to sting. 

While whiskers can’t sting and don’t contain any toxins, this doesn’t mean you can throw your care to the wind. It would be best if you were cautious when you catch a catfish. They are not the safest fish to deal with.

In general, Catfish can sting by their fins if you hold them wrong, and the best way to avoid their sting is to know how to hold the catfish in the right way before starting the fishing trip.

Can Catfish regrow their whiskers?

We know that the whiskers are covered by skin, and it isn’t hair. Do you think if the catfish whiskers get damaged could they regrow it again? 

Catfish can regrow their whiskers though this depends on many external factors like water quality, the most important reason, the fish age, and nutrition.


Catfish don’t have hair and their whiskers are covered by skin, and they have a lot of taste buds. They use their whiskers to find their food in dark holes and muddy water. 

Their whiskers are called “barbels” and are not like the whiskers you find in cats at all. The name they share is the only thing in common between a catfish’s whiskers and cat whiskers. 

You can touch the catfish bandles as much as you want and even play with them, they won’t sting you, and they contain zero toxins but don’t do the same thing with their spines because they are toxic and can sting you. Always make sure how to hold a fish correctly before you target it; otherwise, you may end up with bloody hands. 

Catfish can repair their whiskers by themselves in good quality water, and nutrition will help them.

Outdoorskilled’s Recommended Gear for Superb Catfishing

I’ve testeI’vezens of reels, rods, and lines for Catfishing, and after years of testing, here are my quick picks that will definitely improve your current setup and results!

My recommended reel is the Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Reel C3-7000 which is ideally suited for catfish.

The rod I always recommend is the KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rod. It’s lightIt’sht, durable, and affordable. Furthermore, you’d haveyou’dde selection of models to choose from, whether you’re looyou’reor a spinning or casting rod. Lastly, it comes in twin-tips models, which means you’ll be you’llg two rods rather than one.

What I use is the Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Fishing Line as it’s the sit’sgest, toughest mono I’ve ever I’veed and because it has exceptional shock strength, great knot integrity, tremendous abrasion resistance, and a high-visibility color option, you really can’t findcan’ter options

Related Questions 

Why do catfish have tentacles? 

Catfish do have tentacles, and male Catfish use tentacles to grab female attention. When a female fish sees a male with these tentacles, she takes it as a sign that he’s a good father who can create and safeguard for her kids. 

Do catfish have backbones? 

Catfish do have backbones; actually, all fish have backbones because they are from vertebrates, and their skeletons are made of bones rather than cartilages. There is only one fish breed that doesn’t have a backbone: a hagfish.

Do catfish have opposing thumbs? 

Catfish don’t have a thumb at all. They have fins instead; they have three medium fins. The anal fin is located on the bottom of the fish and has a long base. The dorsal fin is a backward-facing fin with a single sharp spine in its front part; between the dorsal fin and the tail comes the adipose fin, a tiny, fatty fin.

What do catfish eat?

Catfish are known as night hunters; they use their whiskers to look for small fish, snails, mollusks, and tiny animals if they can catch them. Some anglers have seen the Catfish catching a bird from the water surface. Also, they can eat alive or dead fish.

Do catfish sting?

Catfish do sting by their fins. Their stings are always painful, but the pain is extreme when the venom is released and can last up to 6 hours. The most common site of catfish stings is in the hands.

How long is a catfish’s life span?

Catfish’s average life span is between fifteen to twenty years in females and eight to nine years in males. Unlike other animals, catfish continue to develop and become more prominent as they get older.

What kind of skin does a catfish have?

Catfish have mucus-covered skin that they utilize to breathe through their skin while they are out of the water, and this is why Catfish can manage to stay alive out of the water for up to eighteen hours. Also, they have dermal plates or bone plates called scutes to protect them. Unlike other fish, Catfish don’t have scales on their bodies.

Helpful Resources 

Channel Catfish

Resources for Catching Catfish Faster and More Easily

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