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Freaky air-breathing fish sparks "kill it immediately" warning


With this USGS photo you can look into the mouth of a northern snake's head.


Georgia's waterways had some bad news this week when an angler landed a northern snakehead fish in a private pond. These strange animals can reach up to 3 feet long (that's about a meter) and are known for their insatiable appetite and ability to breathe air.

Juvenile northern snakeheads can move across land.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources issued a warning about the fish this week and gave instructions on what to do if you think you caught one.

The first step is not to release it. Next: "Kill it right away (remember it can survive on land) and freeze it." The department asks anglers to report suspicious snake heads to the Wildlife Resources Division's fishing bureau.

According to a Fact Sheet from the United States Geological Survey, the northern snakehead can survive up to four days out of the water and teens can wander over land making toothy fish a prime candidate for their nightmares. The fish compete with native species for food and habitat.

The northern snakehead is native to China but has been discovered in several US states, including Maryland, California, Arkansas and Virginia.

The fish have probably found their way into the wild because they have not been approved by fish markets or aquarium owners. The conquest of Snakehead in Georgia is a premiere for the Peach State.

"We are now taking steps to determine if they have spread from this waters and hopefully prevent them from spreading to other Georgian waters," said Matt Thomas, chief of the Wildlife Resources Division's Fisheries Department.

If you are wondering, you can indeed eat a northern snakehead. It may be ugly, but it should be tasty.

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