The pike's drab coloring and good vision are adaptations to life as an underwater predator. It is well camouflaged as it hides in the weeds, and it can spot prey as far as 50 feet away.
Pike are found primarily in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. They prefer deep, calm, or slow-moving water where the weeds are fairly dense. They usually hide in these weeds, away from the main current.
The fish's coloration varies according to the waters it inhabits. The most vividly colored specimens are found in clear
water. Their mottled green scales allow them to blend in with the weeds and reed stems.
Pike generally spawn in late March or early April in reed beds or in shallow streams. The number of eggs produced depends on the size of the fish. The larger the fish, the more eggs it produces.
The eggs remain on or just above the bottom of the lake or stream until they hatch two to three weeks later. Larvae feed off the york
save for 10 days, until it is completely absorbed. The young pike are then ready to hunt or prey.
FOODS & HUNTING
The pike preys mainly on different types of carp, although it will eat most other fish as well, including roach, rudd and bream. It also eats frogs, swimming voles, rats, and small water birds such as mallard ducklings, moorhens, and coots.
A young pike differs from a mature pike in that it actively pursue its prey. It feeds in water fleas, worm, and young fish. As it gets older, it catches prey by remaining motionless waiting for an unsuspecting victim to swim within range. Its dorsal and anal fins are positioned fat back on its body, which makes it capable of rapid
Prey is detected by sight and a northern pike can spot a potential meal over 50 feet away. It is thought that vibrations in the water may help lead the pike to its prey.
NORTHERN PIKE & MAN
The pike's voracious appetite has long put it at odds with man. Fish farmers net it because it eats trout and salmon; gamekeepers kill it because it eats ducklings. Anglers regard it as a prize, however , and pike fishing is now a major sport.
Length: Female, up to 5 ft. Males are smaller.
Weight: Males, rarely weigh more than 11 lb. Female, up to 55 lb.
Spawning season: March and April.
No. of eggs: 40,000-50,000.
Hatching time: 2-3 weeks
Habit: Predatory, ambushes prey rather than hunting actively.
Diet: Mainly other small fish. Will also eat young coots and ducks.
Lifespan: Average 7-10 years.
|DID YOU KNOW?
- A pike can swallow large fish because its mouth is wide and because the prey passes directly into its long, straight intestine. Still, it takes three to five days for its digestion to be completed
- A pike's brain accounts for less than one thousandth of its total body weights.
- Although the pike is a fairly indiscriminate feeder, it does not prey on sticklebacks because of their sharp spines.
- The pike has highly acidic digestive juices which can even corrode metal.
- A pike said to have been caught in 1497 was alleged to have been 270 years old. This was proven false when it was discovered that the skeleton was assembled from the vertebrae of other fish.
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