The “Walking” Fish that’s Banned in New York State
New York is a nature-lover's paradise, but not every creature is welcome. The list of prohibited animals in the state includes 15 species of fish, and one of them sounds like nightmare fuel.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) goes to great lengths to protect the local ecosystem. In addition to the 74 invasive plants that are currently banned in the Empire State, there's a lengthy list of aquatic creatures, too.
Prohibited Fish in New York State
There are 32 species of fish and aquatic invertebrates that are prohibited in New York state by the NYS DEC. Many, like the Japanese Mystery Snail, the Round Goby, and the Chinese Mitten Crab, have fascinating names that bely the danger they pose to New York waterways. One fish, however, sounds slightly terrifying.
The Walking Catfish is Banned in New York
Clarias batrachus, AKA the Walking Catfish, is prohibited in New York. It also sounds like something out of a fever dream. The fish is native to southeast Asia but has been found on both coasts of the United States. While the most concentrated population is in Florida, the catfish's presence in Massachusetts and Connecticut means they could decide to invade New York next. And yes, they walk.
How the Walking Catfish Walks
The walking catfish gets its name for the way they travel over land. They've evolved to be able to survive on very little water (and can simply be transported in "moist bags" instead of an aquarium) and can "walk" from one body of water to another. The fish doesn't have legs, but they travel by "pulling themselves along with their pectoral fins much like an infantry-man scooting under barbed wire". Check out a video below.
The good news is that the fish doesn't pose any major threats. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has had the most experience with the invasive species, says that reports of the catfish harming native fish populations are false, although they still classify them as "undesirable". Need more illegal animal action? Check out pets banned by state below.