An alligator gar, a fish native 10,000 miles away in the southern United States, which left authorities wondering how the creature had got there.
Scottish national Karen Lythgoe, 31, who now lives in Asia discovered a monstrous prehistoric alligator-like fish washed up on the banks of the MacRitchie Reservoir in Singapore, Independent reported.
The remains of the mysterious creature baffled locals because it has sharp teeth and huge jaws that look like a prehistoric alligator.
But it turned out this is an alligator gar, a fish native 10,000 miles away in the southern United States, which left authorities wondering how the creature had got there.
Alligator gar eggs are toxic eggs and are apex predators. Releasing invasive creatures in the wild without authorization could result in a disaster in the ecosystem disrupting the balance in the food chain.
Huge Mysterious Fish Looks Like Prehistoric Alligator
Describing the event when Lythgoe first found the remains of the alligator-like fish, she said that some people were already looking at it and from afar it looked like a body of an alligator. However, she felt that something did not look quite right so they went closer to look at the remains.
“It wasn’t a crocodile! It was like something you might see in a zoo – it looked prehistoric with its big jaws and teeth,” Lythgoe exclaimed. “I was shocked and intrigued at how it came to be in the reservoir.”
A local named Imran Kassim, 27, also said that he thought it was another predatory reptile as it looks like an alligator complete with sharp teeth and jaws that are wide open but a portion of its body was gone, probably eaten by a monitor lizard.
In a joint statement, the city’s water agency (PUB) and National Parks Board said that they had identified the mysterious creature as an alligator gar. But the reason for its existence in the reservoir remains unclear. Authorities believe that it was first kept as a pet before being discarded when it grew too big.
According to MailOnline, young alligator gar that are about eight inches long (20cm) can be purchased from local fish merchants. But authorities reminded the public that releasing invasive species could disrupt the delicate aquatic ecosystem and may pose a risk to users of Singapore’s bodies of water.
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Facts About Alligator Gar
Alligator gars bear no relation to alligators, but they got their name due to their crocodilian head and sharp teeth. According to National Geographic, alligator gars are the largest of seven known gar species with an olive-brown torpedo-shaped body covered with an armor of glistening scales.
An alligator gar can grow up to 10 feet long and could weigh up to 350 pounds, according to historical reports. This makes them the largest fish species in North America that spends most of its time in freshwater.
Their prehistoric relatives could be traced back to 157 million years ago who inhabited most parts of the world. However, today they only live in North and Central America.
Despite their ferocious look, alligator gars do not pose any threat to humans and there have been no known attacks on people in history. But they can pose a passive danger to wildlife with their poisonous eggs. The toxins of gar eggs act as a defense mechanism against predators.
That is why it is prohibited to release invasive species like alligator gars into the wild or in reservoirs and waterways. In Singapore, such an act is punishable with a fine of SG$3,000 (£1,600).
Originally published at The Science Times