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Freaky Fanged Fish Found In Utah Pond Stumps Experts; 'What Is This Thing?'

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BRIGHAM CITY, Utah -- Biologists are trying to identify a fish with large fangs that was found near a lake in Utah. So far, the identity of the strange fish has them stumped.

Craig Schaugaard, Aquatic Manger for the Department of Wildlife Resources, said, "When we first saw that fish, we thought, ‘What in the crap is this thing?'"

Wildlife officials said they think the fish may have been dragged into the parking lot by an animal.

The mystery started a couple weeks ago when every fish in the pond went belly up. Ben Boyce, with the Brigham City Corporation, said "Approximately 4,000 fish, when the ice came off the pond, were discovered to be dead."

The pond may have been poisoned, or the water may have run out of oxygen due to the thick ice. "We just have no way of knowing," Schaugaard said.

Among the dead were the species the pond had been stocked with, along with the unexpected -carp, goldfish, and the mystery fish that was found in the parking lot, apparently dragged by an animal. "It's been decomposed. It's been run over," Schaugaard said.

Biologists say it's not a new species. They believe the fish could be a Lake Trout whose tissue decomposed rapidly, making its teeth more prominent.

It could also be a cast-off, a pet fish dumped by someone tired of taking care of it. "We would be appreciative if the aquarium fish didn't come to our pond," Boyce said.

Aquatics biologists say if they can't figure it out, they'll let the fish decompose then examine the bone structure to determine the species. While they wait, the fish stories will only grow. Schaugaard says, "It definitely could become an urban legend."

Officials will soon begin restocking the pond with fish of their choosing. It's safe to assume that won't include any aquarium fish or mystery fish.


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Reader Comments

20 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Looks like a wolf fish that someone released.
   comment# 1   - Ken · PHX AZ USA · Apr 4, 2008 @ 9:10am

In answer to the question, "What is this thing?" Answer: Ugly!! Very interesting!
   comment# 2   - Ann · Fergus Falls, USA · Apr 5, 2008 @ 6:09pm

So if this thing was dragged by an animal and run over a couple of times wouldn't it be missing pieces from it.
   comment# 3   - Doua · Oroville, CA · Apr 8, 2008 @ 10:51am

Looks just like another fish caught last year and The Department of Fish and Game said the fish is a speckle fin mid-shipman. It is usually found in the waters between Santa Barbara and southern Baja California.
   comment# 4   - Cathy · Dearborn Heights MI · Apr 8, 2008 @ 11:21am

Looks like a Chinese Snakehead fish,they have been turning up in the great lakes,they are said to eat anything.The local conservation officers are worried they will kill off game fish..
   comment# 5   - Paul M. Webb · Cambridge Ontario,Canada · Apr 8, 2008 @ 5:20pm

what the heck is this, some kind of new reptile. Is some kind of joke. I can't believe this is just amazing.
   comment# 6   - captin hook · arizona · Apr 19, 2008 @ 10:41pm

what is this thing some kind of snake thing
   comment# 7   - peter pan · arizona · Apr 20, 2008 @ 3:11pm

what the devil is this thing
   comment# 8   - lazlo · arizona · Apr 22, 2008 @ 8:58pm

[Craig Schaugaard, Aquatic Manger for the Department of Wildlife Resources, said, "When we first saw that fish, we thought, ‘What in the crap is this thing?'"] ----------------------------------------------------- Nice official quote from a DWF representative. Are you kidding? And just what is an aquatic manger? It sounds like some kind of religious thing. Whatever it is, apparently, it's quoteable. --------------------------------------------------- As for the fish? They think it's a lake trout, and so do I. They really aren't trout, they are char, and are related to and very similar to salmon, having the same hooked jaw and teeth structure. It appears to be deformed, and could be a victim of whirling disease. Maybe it finally died, floated up, washed ashore, rotted and deflated, and then baked in the sun to a crisp golden brown.
   comment# 9   - Stani · Magna, Salt Lake County · May 17, 2008 @ 1:52am

Lake trout and all of the other char can correctly be called trout. Trout is not an official name or tool for classification. It is a name associated with many species attached to them more for lifestyle characteristics then actual relationships to other fish. For example, rainbow trout and coho salmon both belong to the Oncorhynchus genus. Atlantic salmon and brown trout both belong to the Salmo genus. Lake trout and Artic char both belong to the Salvelinus genus. All trout, salmon and char belong to the Salmonidae family.
   comment# 10   - Arthur · USA · May 21, 2008 @ 7:16pm

its a tadpole yeah i seen one turn into a butterfly once.
   comment# 11   - oliver hardy · bradford uk · May 26, 2008 @ 10:49am

The jaws appear to be "hinged" I am given to beleive it to be a snakefish of some kind. Large nostrils indicate it would need to surface for air. Do let us know your findings on this rather odd creature,
   comment# 12   - Song_sung_blue · Tyler, Texas USA · Jul 28, 2008 @ 3:23pm

Cathy, if it was between Santa Barbara and Baja California, how the HELL did it manage to get Utah? (May I add they said it was ONE) No idea. Possible sampling and taking dna or skeletal structure samples may lead to a conclusive answer.
   comment# 13   - Jake · Kent,England · Aug 27, 2008 @ 9:48am

i think it's a tiger musky (hybrid fish found in pineview dam and willard bay. cross between walleye&northern pike)
   comment# 14   - kc · sunset,ut,america · Mar 13, 2009 @ 11:09pm

   comment# 15   - Aladin jusic · Bensenville · Feb 22, 2010 @ 6:58am

Hybrids Lake trout have been known, very rarely, to hybridize in nature with the brook trout, but such hybrids, known as "splake", are almost invariably reproductively sterile. Splake are also artificially propagated in hatcheries and then planted into lakes in an effort to provide sport fishing opportunities. These fish are easily distinguished from both lake and brook trout by the overlap of markings and coloration. A splake has bright orange fins with white tips and slightly white wormlike markings of a brook trout. Splake also have a longer lake trout jaw, teeth, dark purple back, and orientation of marks like a lake trout.
   comment# 16   - den · usa · Jan 10, 2011 @ 10:50am

   comment# 17   - Tom Conner · Brooksville, Florida, USA · May 1, 2013 @ 3:48pm

I know it's a bit late but if you look at the arrangement of teeth its a decomposed Walleye. Just look at a head on shot of a Walleye. They are not uncommon around Utah and would love to eat the goldfish and small carp in that pond.
   comment# 18   - Angela · Draper, Utah · May 28, 2013 @ 10:10pm

A dessicated Northern Pike?
   comment# 19   - Rhonda · Palmer Lake, U.S.A. · Jun 17, 2013 @ 12:01pm

It looks like a bowfish that was caught in Ohio by a little girl they look really similar
   comment# 20   - Kayli · Cincinnati · Jun 22, 2015 @ 7:59pm
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