There are many reasons we don't take to the canal in our backyard for a refreshing swim. First, we have an ocean. Second, we have pools, be it our own or a friend we have made so because he/she has a pool. Third, gators, that, if they don't eat us, will surely eat our small dog.
Thanks to River Monsters' Jeremy Wade -- yes, that is his real last name (and no, he's not related to Dwyane) - we've got one more: the snakehead. Sorry, killer snakehead.
The snakehead is "a Far Eastern predator that's now invading America's backyards," describes the RM website. "Accused of homicide, and said to breathe air and crawl on land, the snakehead sounds more like a horror movie monster than a fish."
The scaly creature brought Wade and the RM crew to South Florida, where they took to a few canals in search of this predatory fish.
"The reason for the name is very simple," explained Wade. "The head looks uncannily similar (from a distance) to that of a snake." The giant snakehead can grow to more than four feet long and 40 pounds, and Wade said the fish can by "very aggressive in protecting its young."
Wade said the bullseye snakehead (an orange ring circles its black tail) has been hanging out in Florida for at least a few years and is well-established, though the overall numbers of native fish don't seem to have been affected so far.
And although Wade suggests, should you come face-to-face with one, to simply leave it alone, the Animal Planet angler dove into a SoFla canal in hopes of finding one. He said on the first couple of dives, the water was too cloudy to see, but "then I saw a scatter of young fish and was aware of the fisherman beside me firing his spear."
For Wade, it's just another day at the aquatic office. But certainly he has a routine to prepare to meet his watery villains?
"It's very yogic," he said of his regime. "It's the complete opposite of a macho activity: I lie on my back breathing deeply but unforced, from abdomen, punctuated by increasingly long breath-holds, up to 3 or maybe 4 minutes, with recovery periods in between. This builds up the body's tolerance to carbon dioxide in the blood. Relax body and empty mind -- although latter not always easy if you're going into murky water to confront an aggressive fish."
River Monsters "Killer Snakehead" episode airs this Sunday at 10 P.M.