May 29, 2024

Cut Losangeles

Crazy Good Cook

Snakeheads – Bringers of Fear, Myths and Controversy

2 min read

Snakeheads have some pretty terrible nicknames such as Frankenfish. They have gotten a lot of media attention lately since they found a breeding population in a pond in Maryland. They have since been found living in other waters in southern USA but are still not to be considered established in any area. This is largely due to massive government work to keep them from establishing themselves.

The fear for snakeheads has its basis in the fact that they are ferocious predators that can swallow fish of half their own size. This has meant that many now fear that Snakeheads could do massive damage to the eco systems if the where ever to establish themselves in the US. A result of this fear is the ban to import snakeheads that was imposed 2003. This has however not stopped live snakeheads from being available in Asian food markets and the aquarium trade.

They are originally found in Africa and South East Asia where they are appreciated food sources. Snakeheads vary in size from very small to very large. The largest species can reach over one yard (almost one meter) in length. Snakeheads differ from many other fishes due to the fact that they breathe air by using something called a labyrinth which enables them to consume oxygen from the atmosphere. This means that they can live for long periods on land as long as they can stay moist. They use this ability to walk to new areas to live and feed in. Snakeheads drown if they can’t access the surface to get air.

They are popular aquarium fishes and many aquarists are opposing the decision to ban snakeheads and believe that snakehead import for the aquarium trade should be allowed. They believe that import at the very least should be permitted in colder states where snakeheads can’t survive in the wild. They have a point in this believe since snakeheads re unable to survive in most areas in the USA due to the fact that they need warm water to survive. Allowing snakehead import in some states will however make it harder to enforce the ban in the states where they could survive which could serve to justify the nation wide ban.

There is no doubt that the Snakeheads has triggered fear, myths and controversy in the USA

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