Striped Snakehead (Channa striata)

Striped snakehead (Channa striata) is very common and can be found in almost every water body throughout Thailand. Where is shares habitat with its larger cousin the Giant snakehead the Striped snakehead is not abundant but where they are the top predator the quickly become abundant and are found to breed throughout the year where water is plentiful enough.
Common names: Striped snakehead, Snakehead, Chevron snakehead, Snakehead murrel, Murrel, Haruan Thai name: Pla Chon (ช่อน) Thailand status: Native Max size: 7kg (15.4lb) Diet: Crustaceans, Small fish, Amphibians Habitat: Freshwater.
Striped snakehead (Channa striata) fry are bright red/pink in colour and boil in a ball which is fiercely protected by both parents who will strike at and chase off aquatic invaders intending to devour their young.

The striped snakehead is a species in the Asian Channa genus which is part of the widely spread Chanidae Family. The Striped snakehead (Channa striata) is one of three main snakehead species found in Thailand. The dorsal surface and sides of the fish are dark and mottled with a combination of black and ochre. Its Belly is white. Its large scaled head is where it gets its name as it is very reminiscent of a snakes head. All Snakeheads have deep and wide gaping mouths full of sharp teeth used for disabling and holding prey items.

Snakehead's have Pointed sharp teeth for grasping prey.

Despite being very common throughout Thailand it is still not a simple task to catch s good specimen on rod and line. They are very wiley and cautious fish but can also be overly aggressive and attack without forethought. The only thing that is predictable about fishing for them is that they are totally unpredictable (This applies for all species of snakeheads). A sure bet for catching any size of striped snakehead would be worm fished free-lined on light ledger or float rig, although very effective other fish such as climbing perch, featherback and tilapia will most probably also take the bait. The most fun and exciting tactic is to use for snakehead fishing in Thailand is topwater lures such as small rubber or plastic frogs and buzzbaits.

Striped snakehead caught on topwater with a Killer Frog buzzbait lure fishing in rural Thailand.
Striped snakeheads are very popular as a food fish in Thailand and are commonly found for sale in wet markets all around Thailand. They can stay alive for days out of water as they can breathe air but their gills must be kept moist else they will quickly die.

Locals will target snakehead mainly as a food fish and even half pounders are prized. Methods for capture include nets, all kinds of fish traps, long lines and bamboo sticks plunged into the ground baited with baby crabs, baby climbing perch, grubs, molluscs or grasshoppers. A popular method for many is a car battery made mobile with a strap and half an oil can as a pack, which is then hooked up to two wire attached to long metal prods with wooden/tape handles. A stalking method is used as the hunter wades through rice fields and flooded plains prodding/shocking the thick brown water and everything within range. Snakehead fish, eels, frogs, water fowl, lizards and snakes are all stunned in this way and pulled out by hand from the thick vegetation and promptly put in the keep-net.