If you happen to come across Snakehead fish in Illinois, you may be surprised at what you are able to see.
These fish come with such a unique appearance, which can be a bit intimidating for some people. With their huge appetite and big teeth to match, they are definitely a threat to the ecosystem.
And most importantly, one can hardly mistake these fish for something else. After all, their snake-like fish reveals their identity easily.
Is Snakehead fish in Illinois common? Read on to learn more about these fish and what you can expect from them.
What You Never Knew About Snakehead Fish In Illinois
Snakehead fish is a type of freshwater fish. They can also live on land up to about 3 days before they move to another water body.
In Illinois, these fish are banned, all because of how invasive they can get. Snakehead fish wreak havoc to the ecosystem, and are often found in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The U.S Fish And Wildlife Service has also banned these fish in the entire country.
However, one can easily purchase snakeheads online. They may also be found at fish markets, restaurants, and pet shops. But for those who buy these illegally, there are fines to be paid as they are currently prohibited.
This move towards banning snakehead fish is a way towards preventing any invasive species of fish in the country, most importantly in Illinois.
A fish that is commonly found in Africa and Asia, snakehead fish were initially discovered swimming in the waters of Florida, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Maine, and Maryland.
When these fish species get into the water whether by release or accident, this can lead to serious issues for native fish, as well as the entire aquatic ecosystems in the state of Illinois. Thus, certain actions are in place when it comes to controlling the spread of these predatory creatures.
Just southwest of Chicago, in Romeoville, Illinois, there were electric underwater barriers in place to prevent these invaders from attacking the other water bodies nearby. They have done this to protect Lake Michigan from carp, which also works effectively for snakehead fish.
Additional Facts About Snakehead Fish
Snakehead fish are not quite common in North America. Yet there are a number of these fish species in Asia, specifically in Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as in Africa.
Once mature, the female snakehead can carry up to 50,000 eggs. While some of these will not be able to develop and some will be eaten by small fishes or insects, there can still be plenty of these fish to successfully grow and develop once hatched in 24 to 48 hours.
Throughout the life stages of these fish, they will compete for food with native species. Because of their aggressive nature, they are highly likely to out-compete native ones, causing the latter to be displaced by these predatory fish.
With all these things in mind, officials are doing their best to prevent these fish from populating the waters of Illinois and the entire country as a whole. This way, the balance of the ecosystem can be protected to prevent further problems in the future.