All but one species of snakeheads are active during the day and hunt by ambush. Adults hunt alone, but young snakeheads hunt in schools. Snakeheads sometimes jump up from the water surface to grasp their prey. Snakeheads need to break the water surface once in a while to exchange the air in their breathing organ. These fishes drown if they cannot get to the surface to breathe. Some species of snakeheads can live out of water for several days if their bodies are wet. They can travel on land during the rainy season by using their bodies, pectoral fins, and tail fins.
Scientists know little about the reproduction of snakeheads. These fishes probably have only one mate and take care of their eggs and young. Many snakeheads clear plants and then build a simple circular nest at the water surface. The male encircles the female, squeezes out her eggs, and fertilizes, or places sperm on, them. The eggs float upward into the nest, which the parents guard. After hatching, the young are cared for by either parent, depending on species. In two species the male keeps the fertilized eggs and later the young in his mouth for a few days.
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