Missouri issues advisory to kill this animal which sneaked into US

Features are described as a python-like color pattern, differentiating it from the similar-looking native bowfin

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This image shows a dangerous predator snake head in Missouri waters. — MDC/Katerina Thornton/New York Post

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has issued a stark warning for the local fishermen to kill a dangerous predator upon being spotted, which is destroying the ecosystem.

Authorities noted that if someone encounters the northern snakehead — an Asian native spotted in the US waters — it should be killed.

The marine animal can grow up to 3 feet in length and is able to survive on land for days after coming out of water, according to the New York Post report.

The features of this species are described as a python-like color pattern, differentiating it from the similar-looking native bowfin.

“They’re aggressive predators, preying on native species, and competing for resources,” the MDC said in a warning.

The reports of this dangerous animal have increased since 2019. One of the local fishermen in Missouri caught it recently on May 25 in Wappapello Lake Spillway in Wayne County.

According to the New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), these animals have likely been roaming in the US waters because of being released from aquariums and fish markets.

The agency said that they can “eliminate” native fish species.

“The angler recognised they had something different and researched the fish’s characteristics, and realised it was indeed a snakehead,” MDC Fisheries Biologist Dave Knuth said.

“The angler left it on the pavement for several hours thinking it would die, and it never did.”

Fishermen are advised by the MDC to “kill the fish by severing the head, gutting it, or placing it in a sealed plastic bag.”

“Do not release the fish or throw it on the bank, as it could migrate back to the water or to a new waterbody.”