Finger found inside trout traced to owner

A human finger found in a trout was identified as one lost months ago in a wakeboarding accident: "Detectives were able to get a fingerprint off the severed digit. They matched it to a fingerprint card for Haans Galassi, 31, of Colbert, Wash., and called him Tuesday morning." [AP]


  1. He lost his finger in a wakeboarding accident? Is wakeboarding what I think it is, or have I been doing it wrong?

    Oh, I’m thinking of skimboarding. But I still don’t see where one would lose a finger.

    1. It’s explained in the article. He got his hand caught in a loop of the towline just before the boat started to pull off. And he lost most of his fingers on that hand.

      1. Well, serves me right for posting before RTFA. Now that I know that, I’m going to cringe randomly throughout the day as that mental image resurfaces.

  2. So, are trouts like snakes and only have to eat once a month? 

    And how many licks does it take to get to the centre of a finger-tootsie-roll anyway?

    1. I think it’s noteworthy as well that the finger hadn’t decomposed beyond recognition.
      I done my share of trout fishing, and a standard part of cleaning a fish is to carefully slice open the stomach to see what it’s been eating lately.  You can usually tell what most of the stuff is.  Sometimes flies, sometimes leeches, sometimes very small freshwater crustaceans (I guess you might call them crawdads), snails, nymphs, etc… and you then know what kind of flies to tie for fishing the next day.

      But given how short a trout’s digestive system is, I would expect it to be full of highly concentrated enzymes, since fish don’t chew or tear, but tend to swallow food whole.  A lot of the time, when you see flies, all that’s really left is the exoskeleton, hollowed out from digestion.  And you never see adult mosquitoes in trout stomachs, even though if you watch the water, you’ll see that trout eat them all the time.  I expect that they dissolve very quickly during digestion.

      If anyone here is a biologist or better still, an ichthyologist, it would be really cool if you could explain how this might work, that a finger wouldn’t be skeletonized in a trout’s stomach in a month or two.

      1. The best explanation I can think of is that the finger remained in cold water near the bottom of the lake for some time before the fish found and ate it. As you say, its digestive system would have taken care of it otherwise (even if digestion were very slow, at least the fingerprint would have been gone).
        Disclaimer: I am a biologist, but not an ichthyologist :-)

        1. That sounds like the most plausible explanation I’ve heard so far today!  My dad, who’s a much better angler than I, had his own hypothesis.  He thought that the human finger, due to “toxins we consume” made the fish sick and, since a finger is bigger than most of a trout’s prey, the stomach wouldn’t secrete anymore enzyme and acid, since it stopped eating.  I don’t know about either situation.  Fish seem to be able to thrive in utter filth, like the east river.  And I don’t know anything about the mechanics of fish digestion, but I would think that an object lodged in the stomach would activate continuous secretion of digestive enzymes.  Isn’t that basically how humans and large mammals develop bezoars?

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