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Great Snakehead Fish Fact Sheet

Great Snakehead Fish


Great Snakehead Fish Fact Sheet
Joe Raedle/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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Great Snakehead Fish (Channa marulius)(picture) are a food and aquarium fish that is native to Southeast Asia but is an invasive species causing trouble in other areas.

  • Great Snakehead Description - Young are reddish brown with stripes. Adults are dark on back and light on the bellies, with wide variations in color based on water acidity. They are long thin fish hence the name. Their heads are snakelike with many spike like teeth.

  • Great Snakehead Size - World record is 9 pounds 13 ounces caught by Jean-Francois Helias in Thailand in 2006 They are the biggest of the snakeheads and grow to 66 pounds but none that big have been caught on rod and reel.

  • Great Snakehead Distribution - Native to Asia from Pakistqn to China, south to Thailand and Cambodia and Boreno. They have been introduced to many other areas and have adapted to others places, including several states in the US.

  • What Great Snakehead Eat - Anything that moves, including fish, frogs, snakes,crustaceans and even birds and rodents. They ambush their food, they do not usually chase it.

  • Great Snakehead Spawn - Snakeheads reproduced by laying eggs in nest they build in vegetation in shallow water. Females may produce 100 to 1000 young each time they spawn and some species can spawn more than one time a year.

  • Great Snakehead Attraction to Light - They may come to light to feed on prey attracted to the light.

  • Great Snakehead Life Cycle - Snakeheads grow fast after hatching by eating insects and small water critters. As they get bigger they tend to hide in cover and eat anything that passes within range. They continue to grow fast and have no natural enemies. They are prolific and produce a lot of young that have a good survival rate so they can become very common in a body of water very quickly.

  • Great Snakehead Problems Snakeheads eat game fish and have no predators to they can overcrowd a body of water and harm native species. They are adapted to survive in water with little oxygen and can even crawl across land for short distances on their fins, taking in oxygen from a special bronchial adaptations. They will not attack people but may injure anyone stepping on them.

  • Forum Discussion - Discuss the snakehead fish on my forum

Snakehead fish are popular food fish and are considered a delicacy in some places. They are also popular aquarium fish. They have become widespread outside their native range because of the aquarium trade and transport as food fish.
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