Alligator gar bites the hand that feeds it!
One of the more amazing freshwater fish of North America is the alligator gar. Atractosteus spatula, as it is known in the scientific world, is a relic from the Cretaceous Period. Yep, it's a prehistoric fish. These animals watched the dinosaurs come and go from this planet and there aren't many species that can say that. In the ecosystems they are found today, these large fish have almost no natural predators once fully grown.
This species of gar is famous for their rows of razor sharp teeth that they use to catch and grip onto their prey before swallowing them.
If you have been following YouTuber The Fish Whisperer in recent months, you know that he has a few young alligator gar he has been raising as pets. In a fashion typical to his videos, he feeds his pets by hand. Today he's giving them some cut up tilapia when one of them grabs a bit more than just the fish fillet.
Ouch! Guess no one told this gar not to bite the hand that feeds it. As you saw here, this little gar attack was not intentionally done. The garfish was simply trying to grab a meal and his owner's hand got in the way. It quickly let go when it realized that finger was not food. The bite from this river monster drew blood, but the damage appeared to be minimal at best. Partly because of the small size of this fish, but also probably because the teeth of this fish are designed more for capturing small mammals, waterfowl, shad and other small baitfish.
The alligator gar he has in this tank are tiny, but they will eventually grow into big fish. Apex predators capable of reaching lengths of seven to eight feet and hundreds of pounds in weight. Today, in the United States, the alligator is commonly found in parts of Texas, especially the Rio Grande River. The other most common place to find them is Louisiana where their range dips all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. They are also found in in many states along the Mississippi River system. States like Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia and more. Sadly, this species was long unfairly classified as a "trash fish" by many anglers because of the believe they preyed on desired sport fish. As a result, this fish has been wiped out or is critically endangered in many areas of its native range.
We're glad the Fish Whisperer is making videos like this to educate others about the gar and show them just how cool these prehistoric monsters are. Hopefully the alligator gar will be around for a long time for future generations to enjoy.