Giant Snakeheads Invasive Species
The northern snakehead can survive northern Siberian winters and was discovered in Maryland.
In the United States and Canada, there are no know predators that can fight off the snakehead or that are even close to its ferocity. The Giant snakehead is a great threat to the local ecology and threatens a $30 billion dollar fishing industry.
When spawning, the average female releases an estimated 15,000 eggs as many as five times in a year. That is an incredible 150,000 eggs during the year if she spawns to her maximum. The giant snakehead is also very protective of its young, which further increases their numbers.
It is illegal to keep snakeheads as pets in all states of the USA and other countries as they have become an invasive species due to individuals releasing them into the wild.
While the giant snakehead has only been reported in Maryland, its smaller counter part, the bullseye snakehead has been reported in many US states. Furthermore, it is unlikely that they can be removed from the environment due to their population size.
Current populations have been found in Crofton, Maryland, the Potomac River and Florida. Individual sitings have been found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina and recently British Columbia.
In 2008, a giant snakehead was reported in the River Witham near North Hykeham, Lincolnshire. However, this report turned out to be a hoax.
Concern of snakehead sightings continue. In 2010, an angler reported finding a snakehead in the Welland Canal, which links the two Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. However, the government later identified the fish as a bowfin, a native species unrelated to the snakehead.
The giant snakehead (Channa micropeltes) is also known as the red snakehead, the giant mudfish and the Pla Chado. The Giant Snakehead is the largest fish in the Channidae family, and can grow to four feet and is one of about 30 snakehead species in the world. At four feet, the giant snakehead is estimated to be about 40 pounds.
It’s native distribution includes southeast Asia and some regions of India. However, in 2002 and 2003, the giant snakehead was caught in the waters of Maryland in the United States as well as in Rock River, Wisconsin.
Snake Head Distribution and Feeding
The Snakehead will attach out of aggression, not just for food. These fish kill as a reflex.
The northern snakehead can survive northern Siberian winters and was discovered in Maryland. They are just as voracious as the smaller species. Attempts were made to kill them off, but they are spreading and are feared to threaten native bass and other species and they do not have any natural predators.