A large “frankenfish” with piranha-like teeth that can live out of water for days was found in NYC’s Central Park. Take one look at this bad boy and you know you do not want this fish in your backyard.
The snakehead fish is native to Russia and Asia and does not belong here in the United States. In most states it is illegal to sell or own snakehead fish or even their eggs — and for good reason. The snakehead fish has the ability to live out of water for four days or, if burrowed under mud, even longer. It is very aggressive, has no natural predators, and can decimate local ecosystem from eating fish, birds, frogs and sometimes small mammals. Some humans have reportedly been seriously injured from the razor-toothed mouth of a snakefish.
The monster fish has been popping up around the country in rivers, lakes, ponds, and now Central Park. New York City’s Department of Environmental Conservation is asking anyone who snags one of these frankenfish on the end of their line to call 311 – the invasive species hotline. Last month, an angler in Maryland collected a cash reward for catching a 14-pound snakehead.
Government officials fear that the snakehead could unfortunately invade the Hudson River basin, or possibly Michigan’s Great Lakes, which would be a disaster. Currently, there is a known population in Ridgebury Lake, which is situated in the Wallkill River drainage area that connects to the Hudson.
How are snakehead fish getting from Russia and Asia to the U.S.? People lacking common sense and a desire to make a buck, of course. A number of illegal snakehead breeding compounds have been discovered in many states including New York, Texas and Florida. People apparently like this fish for its meaty taste and sometimes even keep them as a “pet” – that is until they get too big and too out of hand.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons