Snakehead Fish Species: The Relentless Predator

The Snakehead Fish is a skinny but long abrasive predator. Just the physical sight of seeing it’s “snake like” features will make you cringe. It’s scary appearance is backed up by its keen predator skills. It not only is constantly feeding on other fish but can “wiggle” like a snake to new bodies of water. It has the ability to breath oxygen through it’s gills as long as they are moist.

snakehead fish

The Snakehead has been getting a lot of unwanted attention in the United States lately. Only native to countries of Africa and Asia, the fish has been introduced to eastern states of the U.S. Because of how easily the Snakehead breeds in large numbers, it has local authorities concerned. “This truly is an invasive species to be worried about,” officials have stated.

When a person catches a Snakehead while they’re out fishing, they are directed to immediately kill it. Releasing the fish back into the water is actually illegal in itself. That might give you a good idea of how serious officials are on cracking down on Snakehead reproduction. The fish has literally zero predators within the United State boundaries beside man.

Invading the United States

snakehead-fish-small-300x191What is thought to of happened, an aquarium fish owner may have released the fish due to their rapid growth of 2-3 feet. A baby Snakehead may be easy to handle as an aquarium owner but a 3 foot long mandating predator will need lots of food on it’s plate to stay healthy. It’s recently been found in such midland states as Wisconsin. What started in Maryland will soon end in statewide reproduction most likely.

What makes the Snakehead impossible to stop the divergence of is its ability to wiggle between different water holes. This fish has labyrinth lungs and can breath air like humans as long as its gills are moist. This makes swampland habitat a very easy emergence for the Snakehead. Jumping between water holes while feeding on whatever it desires.

Breeding with Power

Beyond this fish not having many enemies in the water, it happens to be an excellent breeder too. When the female lays her eggs, the male and female guard these eggs with their life. Their keen predator skills make it almost impossible for any other animal to get even near their eggs. Once these eggs are hatched, the parents continue catering to their babies. They basically parent their young along until they are almost young adults and that’s truly what makes their breeding so successful.

The “Giant Snakehead”


The are numerous breeds  of this fish and the most brutal of them is the Giant Snakehead. Reaching lengths of 6 feet make this Snakehead the ultimate killing machine. Despite it killing for meals, it moves past that just to kill out of territory disputes. Asian local fisherman have sought out that these killers continue to eat past their hunger urges even. Catching them on fishing poles isn’t a tough task due to their territorial behavior.

Stalking & Striking Behavior

This monster of a hunter will feed on mainly fish but will shove anything in it’s mouth that fits. Some prime examples could be baby ducks, birds of all species, frogs, crayfish, and whatever you can think of around that size of animal. It’s actually quite disturbing to think about the wide variety on the Snakehead’s food menu. Food is always of abundance with that kind of variety of carnivore.

The stalking motion of this fish is disturbingly effective. The long snake like body physically makes a spring like shape and uses the entire bodies force into one striking motion. Very similar to a snake like striking motion. This attack happens on any type of feeding and territorial fighting. Excessive aggression during breeding time is very common and these fish are limitless to protect their young.

Instead of always stalking their meals out they understand their ability to literally eat anything and play the waiting game a bit. We know this because their muscles are showing that they are not constantly hunting and running after their meals. Eating whatever is in their area is more or less their game of feeding. When opening their stomachs, specialists also realized they are feeding by consuming entire fish in one bite. Kinda of like swallowing a pill for a human. The smaller fish is completely intact and just digested as one whole animal.

Removing from Habitats

Environmental specialist are so concerned about the Snakehead becoming a disaster to U.S. waters, they have tried to take matters into their own hands. Breeding spots are found where Snakeheads are very prominent and tools are used to shoot electric currents through the water in order to kill the fish. It’s been noted that they are very hard to kill. Fisherman tell stories of exactly how hard they are to actually kill when caught. Without getting too graphic, it is very difficult to such a strong willed creature.

Law mandates that fisherman kill all Snakeheads that are caught on scene. “Any and every one we can rid of will put a decline in the rising numbers,” stated an official. An issue that is rapidly occurring is the snakehead is commonly unknown to most fisherman that are catching it. The average fisherman will just release a fish back into the waters when unsure what species it is to continue fishing for keepers. That’s why educating on this matter is crucial. There is a good reason to be worried about this fish mass producing and taking over waters of the United States. National Geographic doesn’t call this fish “Fishzilla” for nothing. Help spread the word by sharing this article. Action must be taken to make a difference in our natural habitats.

Community Questions:

What is the Best Bait to Catch Snakeheads On?

Topic: I’m going to visit my aunt in the state of Virginia and they have the ever so famous Snakehead fish that is the talk around there. I want to catch one because I’ve never caught one and I’m looking to because I love fishing. What baits can I use or maybe find in order to fish these with good luck?

Reply from David K.
I would think that minnows would be a good bet. It seems they are always a safe route to go but you could always bring vibrant artificial lures like spinners and such too. This fish is a big time hunter and strikes anything that comes within its territory. If you go around spring time you will have great success fishing them with their breeding going on. All fish get very aggressive towards baits in their area with their newly young borns. I’m friends with this guy on facebook and he is the man to talk to about snakeheads (im friends w/tons of guys from fishing forums).

Reply from Nick T.
I’m jealous man! I’ve heard a ton of cool things about this fish from friends but never have had chance to land one. I also hear they taste delicious on top of being an awesome fish to catch with the fight they out up. I guess when you get one on the hook it feels like you snagged a log because they are that solid of a fish for fighting.

Reply from Adam R.
Yeah I heard the fight is crazy too. One of my buddies said they caught them on frogs but they had to go out in the swamps at night to find the frogs because bait stores don’t sell them haha! I would love to land one of these bad boys. Anyone know what a big one measures in length??

Reply from Nick T.
I wanna say 3 feet is a good sized one but I’m not totally sure on that. Does it matter really what size it is if you have never caught one.. Just the fact of catching one would be enough for me. It’s not like you need a wall mounter for the first fish while on your vacation out there.

Reply from Adam R.
I’m not saying he has to catch a big one but instead I’m just asking what a big one measures out to out there? You kind of took what I said in the wrong manner. But I can see how you could of easily thought that though so no hard feelings.

Reply from Nick T.
Oh ok my bad. I just did a little research on this crazy breed of fish… Turns out there is a 6 foot snakehead species from Thailand that you fish with Chicken liver to catch! Holy crapzilla! I’m intrigued now. Did you know these suckers breath air too and can move around on land some.

Reply from Adam R.
This is getting out of control. I’m going to go chug 3 beers and hit up Wikipedia. Wish me luck on my trip guys. Or WAIT… I don’t need luck hahahha.

Do Snakeheads Strike Everything Near Them?

Topic: I’m under the impression that snakeheads strike just to kill but I have a hard time believing that. Why would an animal attack just for the peer sake to kill? Can someone with some knowledge on this fish give me some details on this fish species.

*Voted Best Answer
Posted by Matt D:
There have been many studies on the very invasive snakehead species and it turns out that a lot of the “traits” were hyped up a bit from Hollywood films and such. They do on the other hand just kill to get predators out of their territory. They are very aggressive hunters and you can watch them act in fish aquariums. They commonly strike the prey just to kill it and let it lay dead. Talk about a predator there!

Back to what I was saying though, there were movies produced around the idea of this “deadly predator” of a snakehead. Children playing in their backyard and having the snakehead crawl through land to attack their next prey. But when studies were done, it turns out they actually don’t crawl all that great and even for them to attack outside of the water was pretty unlikely and not effective.

So to Answer your question, I would say YES they do strike to kill even though they don’t plan on eating that prey all the time. Seems like kind of a waste but that’s how Mother Nature is and they are invasive for this reason. Watching these things in small fish tanks really kind of freaks me out.

There is another string known as the giant snakehead that is supposedly making its way up the United States but they are much more rare then the regular snakehead. Fishing in Florida is full of these little critters and they’re feeding on all the native fish like sunfish, bass, crappies and so forth. It will only be a matter of time until they reach the entire United States. Hopefully that answers some of your questions. I got to blabbing on and here we are with a page of info later haha! Sorry, I really enjoy aquatic fish and their living habitat lifestyles.

Posted by Dan R:
I wouldn’t think they just strike to kill other fish when they don’t eat them… Can’t think of a single animal that does that but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve tried eating snakehead and they taste quite well. I heard that there is some ritual of the Vietnamese culture of eating snakehead fish before big surgeries to make their bodies stronger and that’s why they even eat these fish.

Posted by Rachelle:
Aquarium owners are actually the sole reason why this fish made it to the United States to start with… Stupid aquariums need their deadly fish you know.. Whatever just happened to owning peaceful fish? Now people need schools of piranhas and snakeheads that can terminate flesh of animals within seconds. I think something is wrong with the human race. Blame the video games these darn kids are playing! (Sarcasm).

Do Snakeheads Feed in Schools Together?

Topic: I’ve been researching this fish called the snakehead because I will be traveling to Florida soon to catch some. I have planned a your guide trip where we catch snakehead fish which is a super invasive fish that is taking over the waters of Florida and moving their way up. Do they feed in schools? It would be interesting to know since I will be fishing them. Thanks for help.

*Voted Best Answer
Posted by Kevin:
The snakehead does not feed in schools and they are actually quite easy to catch because they are such territorial predators. They will feed in anything that fits in their mouth and moves. A very common meal for them in Florida would be the frog. Maybe pick up some imitation frog lures and you will be good to go. I had amazing luck with frog lures that float at the surface because it really gets their attention and they strike it like crazy.

What I found somewhat weird about the fish was it only strikes the boat once even though the bait is still fine and swimming away. It’s almost like the fish intends on only one powerful strike to really startle the prey and lay exhausted until they hit it with the second attack. The second attack comes at a timely manner after though… So if you miss them at the surface on their first strike, hurry up and reel in and cast it for another try.

They feed by themselves and pretty much keep to themselves unless its that time of year to breed of course. When you miss the bite of one, you would think another fish or the same fish would come back to finish the lost prey but it doesn’t happen. This was mind boggling for me with such a dangerous predator on our hands.. Guess that’s the way it is.

Casting along weed lines and underneath floating docks and such did great for me. They love hiding in places where they can not be visibly seen from the surface or by other fish. Their instincts are very good. Another note, if your fishing them in the spring time, they will be heavily aggressive attacking a lot more because they protect their young like crazy to the death. If you cast your lure within their territory.. they will strike it no matter what! For the meal or for you just to get away from their young. They commonly kill things and just let them lay dead.. Scary huh.

Our guide cut up our fish and we later ate them and try we’re delicious. I caught the fish that same day and cooked them up in the frying pan and they were breathtaking delicious. The news claims how dangerous these fish are in the waters… Why don’t we just catch them all and start eating them in mass numbers! That would seem to fix the problem to me.

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