Snakehead found in Wisconsin
JANESVILLE, Wisconsin -- A carnivorous alien fish known
for its voracious appetite and ability to wriggle short
distances on land has been found in southern Wisconsin's
The discovery of the 2-foot-long giant snakehead by the
state Department of Natural Resources marks the first
time the species, a native of Asia, has been found in
Wisconsin waters, where officials said it may not survive
the winter cold.
"This was a real wake-up call," said Mike Staggs,
director of fisheries at the DNR.
The giant snakehead can grow to more than three feet
in length, and fish managers say that with no natural
predator, it could change the local fish population and
introduce new diseases.
A year ago, wildlife officials in Maryland killed six
adult and more than 1,000 juvenile northern snakehead,
a close relative to the giant snakehead, found in a pond.
The DNR found the giant snakehead during a routine fish
survey of the Rock River September 4.
The DNR said an employee misidentified the fish as a
native bowfin. It was photographed and released before
the DNR later concluded it was a snakehead.
Two crews were sent back to the river last Thursday and
three more crews went back Tuesday to look for evidence
of snakeheads but found none, Staggs said.
Staggs said the results indicate the fish does not appear
to be widespread in the river, and the individual snakehead
likely was released by a hobbyist after outgrowing an
Releasing aquarium fish into the wild in Wisconsin is
It's unlikely the giant snakehead could survive the cold
water of a Wisconsin winter, Staggs said.