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Northern Pike

Esox lucius

Its elongated body and long, beak-like snout make the Northern Pike utterly distinctive. In the daytime, it lurks in thick aquatic vegetation or behind deadwood.

Description
Elongated, powerful body. Males up to 1m and females up to 1.5m long. Snout beak-like, dorsal fins located far to the rear.

Distribution
Central and Northern Europe extending to Siberia.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
Not endangered; common species.

Behaviour
Dorsal, tail and anal fins form a functional unit and operate like a rudder blade. Pike can attack at lightning speed from cover. Esox lucius are only active during the day and ambush their prey; if the prey escapes, it is not followed. Pike prefer carp, but they also prey on frogs, small mammals and waterfowl. From February to May, Pike spawn on flooded banks or other shallow surfaces of water rich in vegetation. A female can produce up to 300,000 eggs! The eggs are sticky and are attached to aquatic plants.

Special Characteristics
The backwards-directed teeth on the roof of the mouth and tongue structure hold prey fast and prevent it from escaping. However, it can occur that the pike itself is not able to release oversized prey from its own jaws!