This snake-headed fish can breathe air and glide across land.

Today, science knows about the existence of more than 35 thousand species of fish. Many of them are unremarkable – they simply float in the water and feed on insects, algae and small organisms. But in this vast group of animals there are also unique creatures whose existence is difficult to believe. For example, in the waters of Asia there aresnakeheads, which are something between fish and snakes. They are very durable due to the fact that, if necessary, they can move on land and extract oxygen directly from the air. Recently, snakehead fish were caught in the United States for the fourth time in history, and the news has alarmed conservationists. The fact is that these predatory creatures found themselves in an unnatural environment and began to attack local fish.

This fish with the head of a snake is able to breathe air and glide on land. Snakeheads are unique fish that can live on land. Source: Photo.

Snakeheads are unique fish that can live on land. Source:

Who are snakehead fish

Snakeheads (Channa argus) are unique fish that closely resemble snakes in appearance. They have an elongated body, which is cylindrical in the middle part and flattens closer to the tail. The head of this fish is large and its shape really resembles the head of a snake. The body of this creature is colored brown and has a dark pattern like a python, which increases its resemblance to snakes. The length of a snakehead can reach 1 meter, and its weight sometimes exceeds 10 kilograms.

Who are snakehead fish? Some snakeheads reach a meter in length. Source: Photo.

Snake-like fish are native to freshwater bodies of Asia. For example, they lived in the Yangtze River for millions of years. Today they can be caught even in Russia: they are found in the Ussuri and Razdolnaya rivers, as well as lakes Khasan and Khanka. In 2013, snakeheads were caught in the United States, which came as a big surprise. It is believed that they spread due to their ability to move on land.

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Fish capable of living on land

In addition to their frightening appearance, snakeheads are surprising in their ability to move on land and breathe outside of water.

The ability to move on land is due to the fact that predatory snakeheads are able to make wave-like movements with their long bodies. They usually begin to crawl on the ground if their habitat becomes polluted or becomes uninhabitable for other reasons. They move slowly, but usually still find a more suitable body of water.

Fish capable of living on land. Snakehead fish on land. Source: Photo.

Snakehead fish on land. Source:

Fish can live on land thanks to the presence of a labyrinth organ. Fish usually obtain oxygen from water using their gills, but snakeheads are able to breathe atmospheric air. The labyrinthine organ consists of many folds, which are covered with thin skin and penetrated with blood vessels. When oxygen enters the labyrinth organ, it immediately enters the circulatory system. It is believed that they can live on land for several days. The main thing is that their bodies remain moist – to do this, they can bury themselves in wet silt or soil.

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One of the most dangerous fish in the world

Recently, a snakehead was once again caught in the United States. This happened in the American state of Missouri – a fisherman was surprised to see a snake-like fish on the hook of his fishing rod. The man left the unusual fish on the ground in the hope that it would die, but this did not happen. She survived even after being taken into the hands of specialists inside a bag.

Most likely, the caught fish was killed because it is not recommended to release it back into the water. In the United States and many other countries, the snakehead is an invasive species that attacks all native animals and has no natural predators. They may well lead to the extinction of some species of living beings, so they are not welcome outside Asia.

One of the most dangerous fish in the world. Snakeheads are unexpected guests in many countries around the world. Source: Photo.

Snakeheads are unexpected guests in many countries around the world. Source:

With all this, snakeheads are considered commercial fish species. They are caught on a bottom bait (cast) if you use earthworms, small dead fish or frogs as bait. But fishing can be complicated by the fact that these fish often hide among the algae. Snakehead meat is considered tasty and is also valued for its lack of cartilage – it is only found on the backbone. Cleaning these fish is easy because you only need to make an incision and remove the skin like a stocking.

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What do you think? Were we able to surprise you with our story about this fish? If not, you can read other articles about unusual inhabitants of the waters. For example, pay attention to the material about jumping fish that live on land. You can also expand your horizons by reading about the toothy greenling – a fish with 555 teeth.