Rarely do you hear kill on site mandates from an Environmental agency, but New York's DEC is recommending just such an action if you encounter the dreaded Northern Snakehead.

The Northern Snakehead can survive for days out of the water, but that isn't what has environmentalists freaking out. Their eating habits can kill or greatly reduce native fish species in a body of water. Their diet includes; other fish, reptiles, mammals, and even small birds.

The Snakehead was found in Queens and in the Hudson Valley several years ago, as well as Maryland and Michigan. Now a recent discovery in Georgia is bringing the concerns back to New York. Officials say people dumping aquariums and fish market releases are the two most common methods of them populating streams and ponds.

Juvenile Snakeheads then get transferred through water holding compartments on boats and people illegally using them for bait. Their ability to survive for days on land allows them to move to nearby waters. Here's what the DEC says to do if you catch one:

Kill it immediately and freeze it.
If possible, take pictures of the fish, including close-ups of its mouth, fins, and tail.
Note where it was caught (waterbody, landmarks or GPS coordinates).
Report it to your regional NYS DEC fisheries office or to NYS DEC's Invasive Species Bureau at isinfo@dec.ny.gov or (518) 402-9425.
You can also submit a report through iMapinvasives

Just make sure you have the Northern Snakehead, they are frequently confused with New York's native Bowfin. Read more on the DEC's website.

Northern Snake Head Bowfin

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