New reports out of Georgia describe an invasive fish species that can survive on land — and state officials want you to “kill it immediately” if you are unlucky enough to come across it.
The northern snakehead looks like something straight out of a horror film. The fish can grow up to three feet in length, and can breathe air. They can survive on land for up to three or four days. Officials, however, aren’t afraid of its looks — they’re afraid of what it can do to neighboring species.
The snakehead devours nearly everything in its path, from other fish to even small mammals and birds. Humans, however, are safe — for now.
At least four of the predatory fish were caught in Georgia, according to WSB-TV. Officials are pleading with people to not throw the fish back if caught. "We would ask say anglers that do catch a snakehead to kill it immediately," Hunter Roop, a fisheries biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), told the station. "Then call the DNR so we can document when and where."
The northern snakehead is native to China, the DNR states on their website. But Georgia isn’t the only state that is dealing with the invasive species: snakehead sightings have been reported in 14 states.
"Thanks to the quick report by an angler, our staff was able to investigate and confirm the presence of this species in this water body," Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, told CNN. "We are now taking steps to determine if they have spread from this water body and, hopefully, keep it from spreading to other Georgia waters."
The snakehead has no natural predators in the state, so it is able to feast to its heart’s content. If you come into contact with the fish, document when and where you caught it and immediately report it to the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office.