Posted by: mystery_man on August 4th, 2010
Japanese news has reported that an alligator gar has been sighted in a Tokyo river. The 1.5 meter long fish has recently been spotted by several eyewitnesses along the Nomikawa River in Ōtaku ward, Tokyo, Japan.
Alligator gars (Atractosteus spatula) are native to the lower Mississippi river valley and Gulf Coast states as well as parts of Mexico. These ray finned fish are so named for the crocodilian –like head, dual row of large, formidable teeth, and overall reptilian appearance. The size of these fish is also comparably to an alligator, and growing up to 8 to 10 feet in length, the alligator gar is the largest freshwater fish in North America. Alligator gars are not found in the wild in Japan.
Japanese authorities are perplexed as to how the gar got into the river, but it is most likely an exotic pet that was released when it became too large for the owner to handle. The aquarium trade in Japan is a booming business and many large species such as the alligator gar are readily available for purchase.
Authorities are trying to catch the monstrous fish due to the threat it may pose to native fish in the river, as well as birds, turtles, and other wildlife.