March 25, 2009 8:08pm CST
A snakehead fish is a large, predatory freshwater fish native to Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other parts of Aisa. There are 28 varieties of snakehead fish. The snakehead is important to the U.S. as a food fish and also for the aquarium trade where many thousands are sold every year as pets. The snakehead fish is unique in several ways from most other fish. Similar in body-type to a muscular eel, some varieties can grow to 4 feet (1.2m in length. The snakehead has a flat snake-like head and toothed maw, hence it's name. What makes the snakehead so unique, however, is its voracious appetite and its ability to breathe air. In fact the snakehead can travel short distances across land and live for up to three days out of water! It will eat fish equal in size to itself and will consume small mammals as well. There are even reports in Asia of snakeheads attacking and killing humans. The northern snakehead is extremely adaptable to various climates including cold waters, and like all snakeheads, breeds easily. Adaptability, carnivorous appetitive, lack of natural enemies and ability to ransverse land, makes the northern snakehead a real threat to to U.S. waterways and indigenous species of fish and amphibians. Tropical and subtropical breeds of snakeheads can pose an additional threat to warmer waterways like those in Flirida and Hawaii.
• United States
24 Apr 09
A law has been passed that prohibits importation of any snake head. It was the two larger species of snake head that had gotten loose from people that had them for food value that released them. Most of the other snake heads would not pose a threat to the United States waters but they have been outlawed so that none can be kept in the United States legally.