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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Creature Feature: Alligator Gar.

Ever notice how people are oddly limited when it comes to terrifying fish? We have piranhas, sharks, and barracudas that have a track record of being merciless killers.By comparison, killer snakes get a million movies,

So, tell me: How come someone hasn't made a flick about this mean fish, yet?

 

For those of you who did not just run away screaming, that ugly mug belongs to an Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula). Alligator Gars are native to much of the United States, but can also be found in Asian aquaria, leading to horror stories after floods run through SE Asia. As a freshwater fish, however, there are oceans separating the two populations.

My first reaction upon looking up how terrifying the Alligator Gar could be: "MOSASAURS LIVE!" This thing is called an alligator gar for a reason. That snout and those teeth look like they belong on a crocodilian. Despite this, the alligator gar is actually a primitive fish, meaning that nature just really likes giving things pointy sharp teeth. As if we didn't know that already.



These fish are also huge. They get 8-10 feet long - over 2 meters for you metric people. That's a lotta fish, to quote the horrible Godzilla movie. This length, and the meat that comes with it, has led to restrictions on its fishing, but there are still a few restaurants with it if you know where to look.

Did we mention that  'gator gars' can last up to two hours above the surface of the water? How about their potential to seriously injure anyone who catches them by weight alone? Even their scales were sharp and hard enough to be used as arrowheads. The oldest of these fish just happens to be somewhere in the 50's-70's, so this terror will be around for quite a while.

Although usually illegal to keep as pets, it is possible to get a massive terror-gar for your pond. Yes, you need a pond to hold these guys. The "alligator gars" found in most pet stores will usually be a smaller species. Please do your research thoroughly; it may save you money and limbs.

2 comments:

  1. These critters may not be known for attacking humans, but if I knew it was in the water I would exit post-haste! That is one mean-looking fish.

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  2. They are super lazy and mostly scavenge. Unlike alligators, they can not eat anything that they can not swallow whole so they stay away from things as big as people and mostly eat slow or dying fish. If they bite something and it moves too much they let go. Any human attack has been accidental and non-fatal.

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