‘Kill it immediately’: 3-foot-long fish that can survive on land found in Georgia waters

State - Regional

The northern snakehead has a large mouth with many teeth. (U.S. Geological Survey Archive)

(WGHP/WSPA/WBTW) – Wildlife officials in Georgia are warning about an invasive fish species they say can survive on land.

“Northern snakehead are bad news. And for the first time, the invasive fish has been confirmed in Georgia waters,” the Georgia Department of Natural Resource said.

The department said Northern Snakeheads have the potential to impact native species by competing for food and habitat.

The northern snakehead has a large mouth with many teeth. (U.S. Geological Survey Archive)

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, anglers who believe they have caught a northern snakehead should do the following:

  1. DO NOT RELEASE IT.
  2. Kill it immediately and freeze it. They can survive on land.
  3. If possible, take pictures of the fish. Include close ups of its mouth, fins and tail.
  4. Note where it was caught like the water body, landmarks or GPS coordinates.
  5. Immediately report it to your regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.

The Northern Snakehead is a long, thin fish, similar in appearance to the native Bowfin. They have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back and a dark brown blotchy appearance.

Northern Snakeheads can get up to three feet in length. They can also breathe air allowing them to survive on land and in low oxygenated systems.

Juvenile northern snakehead on ice
Juvenile northern snakehead (From: Georgia DNR)

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