Georgia: Please kill these snake-like fish that can breathe on land

Katie Ramirez
October 11, 2019

An angler reported catching two juvenile northern snakeheads earlier this month in a pond on a private property in Gwinnett County, officials said. Officials were able to quickly confirm the existence of the species in that pond are now checking other water bodies throughout the area.

Snakeheads grow to 3 feet and have a "voracious" appetite that includes not just other fish but "birds and mammals", according to the task force. "They can breathe air and can survive in low-oxygenated systems", the department added.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division releases a statement on the find.

It is unlawful to import, transport, sell, transfer or possess any species of snakehead fish without a valid wild animal license in Georgia.

The task force says: 'This unique adaptation and their ability to travel over land to new bodies of water by wiggling their bodies over the ground, gives the snakehead a competitive edge over other fishes in securing habitat and expanding its range'. They can survive on land.

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The department urges people to photograph the fish, including some close-up shots "of its mouth, fins and tail".

This is the first of reports of a snakehead fish in Georgia. The fish are native to the Yangtze River basin in China, but snakeheads have been reported in 14 states in the US, the release said.

Native to the Yangtze River basin in China, the species likely entered Georgia through unauthorized release, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Officials have also asked that a report of the catch be made to a regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office to help combat the problem. And officials are warning anyone who comes into contact with the species to kill it immediately.

Officials are concerned about the Northern snakehead infiltrating USA water because they are 'voracious predators'.

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