Gar Facts

Gar Facts
Gar is type of freshwater fish that belongs to the gar family. There are 7 species of gar that can be found in the eastern parts of North America, Central America and Caribbean. Gar is the largest freshwater fish in North America. It appeared on the planet 100 million years ago and it hasn't changed much since that time. Gar usually inhabits large, slow-flowing rivers, large ponds and lakes, and occasionally brackish and salty waters. Major threats for the survival of gars in the wild are building of dams and destruction of their natural habitats. Some species of gar are collected from the wild and sold as aquarium fish. Gar is also popular among sport fishermen. Despite these factors, all species of gar are numerous and widespread in the wild.
Interesting Gar Facts:
Gar can reach 8 to 10 feet in length and 120 to 300 pounds of weight.
Gar has grayish to olive-green back and yellowish-green or whitish belly. It has black spots on the fins. Body is covered with diamond-shaped scales which form strong armor.
Gar has elongated, alligator-like snout filled with numerous, pointed and very sharp teeth. It has elongated, torpedo-shaped body and asymmetrical tail.
Gar collects food both during the day and night, but it is more active during the night.
Gar is a carnivore. Its diet is based on different types of fish, waterfowl and carrion. Turtles and small mammals are occasionally on the menu.
Gar is an ambush predator. It slowly drifts near the surface of the water (and sometimes even pretend to be dead) and grabs its prey using the element of surprise.
Gar can easily survive in the waters with low oxygen content thanks to ability to gulp fresh air and use its swim bladder as lungs. It can even survive 2 hours outside the water.
American alligator is the only natural enemy of gar.
Mating season of gar takes place during the spring and summer.
Female produces around 30.000 eggs per season and releases them on the gravel and underwater vegetation. Male slowly follows her and fertilizes eggs left behind.
Eggs hatch after 7 to 9 days. Young gar needs to fend for itself from the moment of birth. It eats zooplankton and insects until it becomes one-inch-long and ready to eat fish.
Males reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 years, females at the age of 11 years.
Gar's eggs are covered with sticky protective coating which is poisonous for birds and other terrestrial vertebrates (including humans).
Gar's meat can be safely consumed but due to numerous small bones in the body, it is rarely used in human diet.
Gar can survive 26 (males) to 50 (females) years in the wild.

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