A fisherman in Missouri caught what he thought was an odd fish that refused to die, even when left on the pavement for several hours.

The angler was fishing below Wappapello Lake Spillway in Wayne County on May 25 when he reeled in what turned out to be a northern snakehead, the fourth ever recorded in the state, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

“The angler recognized they had something different and researched the fish’s characteristics, and realized it was indeed a snakehead,” said MDC Fisheries Biologist Dave Knuth. “The angler left it on the pavement for several hours thinking it would die, and it never did.”

The northern snakehead, not native to the U.S., is a predatory fish with the head resembling a snake, hence the name. It can grow to up to 3-feet long, and has python-like coloration and pattern.

The snakehead was taken to the local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office. Four hours later, MDC agent Jacob Plunkett recovered the bag with the fish at 11 p.m., the night of the catch.

“When I picked up the fish, it was still very much alive,” Plunkett said.

The Kansas City Star was very succinct in what fishermen should do if they catch a snakehead, stating “this fish is one you’re urged to kill on sight.”

“Unlike most fish, the northern snakehead can breathe air, which allows survival in poorly oxygenated water or out of water for several days if their skin stays moist,” the MDC stated. “They can also slither across land to return to water.

“Snakeheads are an invasive species native to Asia. They’re aggressive predators, preying on native species, and competing for resources.”

Which is why the MDC urges anglers to kill them immediately when catching them. But make sure it’s a snakehead, the agency stated, because it can be confused with a native bowfin.

The MDC has instructions for those catching a snakehead. It asks anglers to kill the snakehead by severing its head, gutting it or placing it in a sealed plastic bag; photograph the fish so the species can be positively identified; note the location of the catch; and report it to the Southeast Regional Office at (573) 290-5730.

“MDC reminds the public it is illegal to import, export, sell, purchase, or possess a live northern snakehead in Missouri,” the MDC stated. “MDC will continue to monitor its spread in the state.

“The first northern snakehead recorded in Missouri was caught in a borrow ditch within the St. Francis River levees in Dunklin County in 2019. MDC confirmed an additional two northern snakehead captures in 2023.”

Photos courtesy of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Story originally appeared on For The Win