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Snakehead Fish or not?

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Snakeheads - Bringers of Fear, Myths and Controversy
Bill Berg

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 canít 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 canít 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

Read more about the group of fish called Snakehead fish and which
are called Channa in Latin.

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