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Giant snakehead

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The giant snakehead, Channa micropeltes, is the largest in the family Channidae, capable of growing to over 1m in length (3 feet) and a weight of over 20kg (40 pounds) . It is widely distributed in the freshwater of South East Asia and some regions of India. Other names include red snakehead, redline snakehead, Malabar snakehead, and Ikan toman (where ikan is Indonesian for fish).

The young of the giant snakehead are red in color, with orange and black lateral stripes appearing after about two months. As the giant snakehead matures, they lose their stripes and instead develop a bluish black and white pattern on their upper body. Juveniles sold in the aquarium fish trade are commonly called red or redline snakeheads.

. Its color when young explains another of its names, the red snakehead.]]

Being a high level predator means that the giant snakehead eats many other fish, amphibians and even small birds, but is not preyed upon by many other species. The giant snakehead is considered gregarious, with the young often following their mother closely. There have been reports of protective mother giant snakehead attacking men who have disturbed the snakehead’s school of juveniles.

The species has the ability to crawl onto land. However, contrary to popular belief, it is highly unlikely that it can survive for up up to four days, as has been reported. While a C. micropletes might be able to wriggle short distances, the body shape is not well suited for it.

In Malaysia&Singapore, where the giant snakehead is known as the toman, they are cultured in fish ponds and reservoirs as game fish because they put up a strong fight when hooked. The giant snakehead is also a good food fish, and is often served in Chinese restaurants. Some people, however, dislike the muddy taste associated with freshwater fish.