'Kill it immediately': Invasive fish can survive on land, found in Georgia

Federico Mansilla
Octubre 10, 2019

An invasive fish species has been spotted in Georgia - and wildlife officials want anyone who encounters it to "immediately" kill the animal, which can survive on both land and in water. The fish can wreak havoc on local ecosystems, and Georgia wildlife officials hope to contain its spread. They are able to "breathe air allowing them to survive on land and in low oxygenated systems".

A snakehead fish is considered a non-native invasive species, which means it affects native species by competing for food and habitat.

People in the United States are being urged to kill and freeze an invasive Chinese northern snakehead fish after some were found in a pond in Gwinnett County, Georgia, earlier this month.

It's unclear how the fish ended up in the pond, but a blog post from the department explains invasive species "are often introduced throughout unauthorized release".

In addition, Wildlife Resources asked anyone who catches a northern snakehead to take pictures if possible and report where it was caught.

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Northern snakeheads are native to China's Yangtze River, but one was caught this month in a private pond in Gwinnett County northeast of Atlanta, Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials said in a news release.

Matt Thomas, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, told CBS 46 that officials are investigating where the fish came from. They can get up to three feet in length.

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 have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back, and have a dark brown blotchy appearance".

The Northern snakehead has been caught in 14 US states so far, but officials are chalking up the surprise appearances to 'unauthorized release'.

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