‘Kill it immediately’: Invasive fish can survive on land, found in Georgia

(Gray News) - An invasive species of fish that can grow to 3 feet long has been found in Georgia, according to state officials.

The northern snakehead is an invasive species in the U.S. It can grow to 3 feet long and live out of the water for days. (Source: Georgia DNR/USGS)

An angler caught a northern snakehead in a Gwinnett County pond in October, said the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.

"Kill it immediately and freeze it. They can survive on land," said a spokesperson in a news release.

Northern snakehead are long, thin fish, similar in appearance to the native bowfin. They have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back and a dark brown, blotchy appearance.

They also can also breathe air, allowing them to survive on land and in low oxygenated systems for days.

The invasive species has the potential to impact native wildlife by competing for food and habitat. Northern snakeheads are native to China but have been found in 14 U.S. states.

In addition, Wildlife Resources asked anyone who catches a northern snakehead to take pictures if possible and report where it was caught.

It is unlawful to import, transport, sell, transfer or possess any species of snakehead fish without a valid wild animal license in Georgia.

For more information, visit Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.

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