Chana spp

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Long, thin body up to 47 in.; flattened head; adults dark brown with dark blotches, young are lighter in color; scaled, snake-like head with sharp teeth. Air bladder acts as lungs; can live out of water for up to 4 days. There are various kinds of snakehead – most common are the Northern Snakehead and Giant Snakehead.


Survives in a wide range of habitats including wetlands, vegetated ponds, swamps, and slow-moving streams with water temperatures ranging from 32ºF to 86ºF.

Location in Nebraska

Not known to exist in Nebraska. Found in several tributaries in North- and South-eastern states.

Snakehead Map

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Previously popular pet; personal aquarium dumping, escape from aquaculture pens, bait bucket release, ship ballast water, and other activities.


Can devastate populations of native fish and wildlife. At all stages of their lives will compete with native fish for food. Juveniles eat zooplankton, insects, crustaceans, and young fish. Adults are voracious predators, eat other fish, crustaceans, reptiles, birds and
and mammals.