Scientists and wildlife experts say that if you find a fish that is surviving on land you need to put the animal into your freezer to die and here is why.
A new sighting of the northern snakehead fish – often referred to as ‘Frankenfish’ – has been reported in Missouri and in two other U.S. areas in 2023.
The Frankenfish has the ability to breathe air, making it able to live on land – for a period of time. The animal can survive above water for up to four days if it can stay moist.
Since the fish is native to Asia and considered ‘invasive’ in the U.S., experts say it should not be put back into the water and should be immediately killed.
While the sharp-toothed fish may appear normal at first, it’s actually incredibly dangerous to the native wildlife in the United States.
The aquatic animal is able to reproduce quickly, laying as many as 15,000 eggs at a time with the ability to lay anywhere from one to five times per year.
The eggs hatch within several days of being laid.
On top of the animal’s rapid and large egg-laying capacity, it is also disconcerting due to its diet and behaviors.
‘This species is of concern because it is a top predator and disrupts the natural aquatic feeding structure in ecosystems,’ NY Invasive Species Information notes.
Anyone who stumbles upon the animal is being asked to put the fish on ice.
Throwing the animal back into the water could present future dangers since the animal can prey on native species and slither back to land.
Federal wildlife experts say putting the fish in a freezer or on ice for an extended period will kill the animal and remove the threat from the area.
Snakeheads live in freshwater streams, rivers, wetlands, or ponds and prefer stagnant waters, wildlife officials say.
The animals can be identified by their snake-like appearance.
The Frankenfish is long and thin with a dorsal fin along the length of its body.
It has a brownish and dark hue with patchy spots that makes the animal similar to a boa constrictor or other snake.
When fully grown, the fish can be up to three feet in length.
The most recent sighting occurred at a creek in southeast Missouri in early July.
Prior to that, two other sightings had been reported in the United States in 2023; northern snakeheads were seen in Pennsylvania and Louisiana in June.
If you live in one of the states where sightings have occurred and find a northern snakehead, wildlife officials say you should take a picture of the animal.
The picture should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the size of the animal, where you caught or saw it, and how many you caught or saw.
This article by Hope Sloop was first published by The Daily Mail on 3 July 2023. Lead Image: Scientists and wildlife experts say that if you find a northern snakehead fish, you should immediately put the animal on ice to die.
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