TODAY   |  May 02, 2013

Destructive ‘fishzilla’ seen in Central Park lake

The northern snakehead fish, usually found in the waters of Asia, has been wreaking havoc in America. Nicknamed “fishzilla,” they can grow up to 3 feet in length and are highly destructive to underwater environments. NBC’s Craig Melvin reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now with the hunt for fishzilla in central park . craig melvin there with his little friend. good morning to you.

>> he's got gloves on.

>> hello there, savannah guthrie . we bought this one in china town yesterday. it's usually found in the waters of asia and it's called the northern snakehead fish. but since it started winding up here in our waters wreaking havoc, it's earned a more ominous nickname calling it fishzilla. it's a fresh water monster with a snake-like head that can grow up to 3 feet long.

>> that fish is way too big to be in this little pond.

>> lurking under water, but capable of slithering around the land for days.

>> they even eat small rats and all types of stuff.

>> so destructive, it's against federal law to have or sell a live one. fearsome enough to earn its own special on natgeo.

>> a ferocious fish with massive appetite and razor sharp teeth.

>> reporter: prompted wildlife officials in maryland to poison a whole pond just to get rid of them. they also appeared in the potomac in florida and michigan. but now the so-called fishzilla is taking a bite out of the big apple and with three rows of teeth at that.

>> there's nothing in this pond that could chase a 3-foot snakehead away except for a human being .

>> signs like these started popping up.

>> i just saw a long snakehead like this long.

>> reporter: this has been kenneth's fishing hole for 61 years, usually he's catch and release , now it's search and destroy .

>> before they take over the lake and eat everything in it, we're going to try to catch them.

>> and fishery officials won't mind if he and others take it a step further.

>> if they happen to catch one, keep it out of the water and if they want to youthut niz it, that's fine.

>> that fish could easily crawl back into the water.

>> that's creepy.

>> yeah, literally, they do creep.

>> reporter: so, guys, they're awfully ugly, but officials stress, there's absolutely no danger to humans.