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March 05, 2020

Rare alligator gar fish found at Delco park, police say

Wildlife Fish
Alligator Fish Delco @RadnorPD/Twitter

An alligator gar fish was found by a Radnor Township resident at Fenimore Park. The rare fish, which usually doesn't live this far north, will be preserved for educational purposes, according to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

One of the largest freshwater fish species in North America made a rare appearance this week at Fenimore Park in Delaware County.

The Radnor Township Police Department tweeted a jarring photo Wednesday of an alligator gar fish that was found dead at the park.

Alligator gar are most commonly found in the lower Mississippi River Valley and Gulf Coast states, and in Mexico as far south as Veracruz. Though they previously inhabited territories farther north, sightings of them in the Delaware Valley are considered very rare. 

Despite their fearsome appearance, alligator gar don't pose any threat to humans. While they are considered ambush predators, they primarily feast on other fish and will sometimes attack small mammals and fowl. 

Incredibly, the fossil record traces morphologically similar species back more than 100 million years to the early Cretacious period. For that reason, gar are sometimes called living fossils. 

The alligator gar found in Fenimore Park will be kept for preservation and educational purposes, according to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.