Aggressive 'walking fish' terrorise residents on Australian island

Climbing perch walks out of water and can live on land for six days

Aggressive 'walking' fish on its way to Australia

Residents on an Australian island have been left terrified of a fish that walks out of water and can breathe on land for six days.

The Metro reports that the climbing perch, described as "aggressive", has lungs as well as gills, and could cause a "major disaster" for Australian wildlife if it reaches the mainland, according to researchers from James Cook University.

The fish has spread across Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and was also found on two small Australian islands in 2005.

They can reportedly travel across land on their pectoral fins and, the clue is in the name, may even climb trees.

The freshwater fish is now also thought to be able to survive in saltwater.

It can hibernate in the mud of dry creek beds for up to six months, and also destroys larger creatures by swelling up after being swallowed, in doing so choking its predator.

The fish has now reached the Torres Strait where it has overrun two Queensland islands' waterways.

There are fears it could now make its way to Australia's mainland, perhaps at the bottom of a fishing boat, thanks to its capability of living in the mud.

The Daily Mail reports that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website said their predatory nature indicates that "this species presents a high risk for survival, dispersal and adverse environmental impact in Queensland waters".

According to the Daily Telegraph, scientists have been working with local communities on small islands north of Australia to stop the spread.

Herbert Warusam, a ranger on Saibai Island, a Torres Strait island north of Queensland, said: "We are now actively monitoring climbing perch in our wetlands and educating local fisherman to report sightings. It is important we don't let them travel beyond our Island."

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