Friday, February 22, 2008

The World’s Most Evil Fish Invades Britain

The list of fish that can make men curse with fear has up to this point pretty much been limited to very large sharks.

Add another one to the list: the giant snakehead.

The giant snakehead is a carnivorous fish that feasts on pretty much anything in its path, and has caused all manner of destruction in places where it has been introduced. With the recent discovery of the fish in Britain, officials are scrambling to find a possible solution to this dreaded environmental issue.

Maybe you think it’s overstating the problem a bit. After all it’s just a fish, right? Wrong. This is not your everyday fish. For one thing, the giant snakehead can kill you. Female snakeheads have been known to attack and sometimes actually kill human beings who get too close to juvenile fish.

The giant snakehead will eat absolutely everything in a body of water then crawl over land to the next pond or lake. If there’s an infestation near any other bodies of water, those other areas are almost sure to be infested soon because the snakehead can survive four days out of water while it looks for a new home.

The fish is the pinnacle in dangerous and effective invasive species. Officials in the U.S. had to fight an invasion of the fish with the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Snipers were placed around invaded bodies of water with shoot on sight orders. Whole lakes were poisoned, wiping out hundreds of other fish in the process, to stop the snakefish from spreading. Even these measures weren’t 100% effective.

So you can imagine the fear when British wildlife officials heard that one of the toothy monsters was hooked by a fisherman in Lincolnshire. According to the Sun newspaper, an environment agency rep said: “The reaction was, ‘Oh s***’.” You know you’re dealing with a serious environmental problem when people from environmental agencies start cursing in newspapers. (It’s probably worth pointing out, however, that the Sun is not exactly known as a hotbed of serious environmental journalism. They’re far more famous for having a daily picture of boobs on their third page.)

Nobody is quite sure how the fish got there. The species is native to South-east Asia, where it is kept in fish ponds or reservoirs as a game fish. They’re apparently quite fun to catch, and they’re also considered quite tasty in China. The species, however, is banned in Britain. It is assumed the fish was a pet that was released in the wild, as that is how the species was introduced in America.

England does have one thing going for it; it’s really cold. The snakehead thrives in warmer water, and the freezing waters in northern England may help take care of the problem before it spirals out of control.

Original here

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