The Invasive Snakehead Fish Is As Comfortable On Land As It Is In The Water

Georgia residents have an unwelcome guest in their state that they want to go back to where it came from and it’s not a college football rival.

The northern snakehead fish has been confirmed to be in Georgia waters after an angler first reported catching one in Gwinnett County in early October.

What should you do if you catch one of these invasive fish?

“Kill it immediately and freeze it,” according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The invasive fish is long and thin fish with similarities to the bowfish. It can reach three feet in length, has a dark brown blotchy appearance, and a long dorsal fin that runs along its back.

They shouldn’t be released under any circumstances. Freezing the fish may sound strange but it ensures the fish is dead since they can breathe air, allowing fthem to survive on land.

How’d it get here?

No one knows for sure how the fish ended up in Georgia, but the DNR warns that invasive species like the snakehead “are often introduced throughout unauthorized release.”

Snakehead Fish Mouth
Image via U.S. Geological Survey Archive

It’s originally from the Yangtze River basin in China but has been reported in 14 states in the U.S.

Anyone who discovers one of these fish should make note of where they found it, take pictures, and report the location to the Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office of the DNR.

Snakehead fish not only compete with native species for the same food sources, but they’ll also prey on other predatorial fish.

“They have the potential to prey directly on bass — especially younger bass,”

said Hunter Roop

“They have the potential to prey directly on bass — especially younger bass,” said Hunter Roop, an official from the DNR. “We would ask say anglers that do catch a snakehead to kill it immediately. Then call the DNR so we can document when and where.”


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