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What are snakeheads and what do they look like?

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Hello and welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Dane Klima.

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Now to today's CoreFact.

What are snakeheads and what do they look like?

Snakeheads are air breathing freshwater fish native to parts of Asia and Africa. While they are not native to North America, some species have been found in U.S. waters. Snakeheads have predatory behavior and compete with native species for food and habitat. They feed on other fish, frogs, small reptiles, and sometimes birds and small mammals. Therefore, snakeheads could drastically disrupt food webs and ecological conditions.

So, what do they look like? Snakeheads have a long, cylindrical body with a large mouth and sharp teeth. They have enlarged scales on top of their heads and their eyes are located far forward on their head, similar to the scale patterns and eye positions of snakes. Because their heads are similar to the heads of snakes, they have long been known by the common name "snakeheads." Size and color patterns vary among 29 recognized species. The largest recorded snakehead was almost 6 feet in length.

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