Meet the Air-Breathing Snakehead Fish That’s Invading Georgia

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If you’re wondering what it’s going to look like when nature finally rises up to finish off human beings once and for all, well, this air-breathing fish that’s able to trade water for land seems like a good candidate.

It’s called the Northern Snakehead, and wildlife officials in Georgia are advising residents to kill them on sight.

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The fish, which can breathe air long enough to traverse short distances on land, is not native to North America. That means it’s invasive, and can easily upset local ecosystems by outcompeting endemic species for food and habitats if it is allowed to reproduce and spread unchecked.

There are several varieties of snakehead fish – this particular one is native to East Asia, not in privately owned ponds in Gwinnett County, Georgia, where the first one was spotted.

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The fish is nightmarishly long – it can reach up to 3 feet in length – and a mottled or splotchy brown color. If you catch or see one, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division would like you to kill it and then freeze it until someone from the agency’s fisheries office can come and collect it.

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No one knows for sure how it first arrived in North America, or in Georgia specifically, but the aquarium trade or the food industry are the most likely culprits.

Georgia is not alone in this battle – varieties of snakehead have been spotted in 14 states so far.