Get Out! Explore Texas Fun Stuff Wild Things

Tortuga Tex: Paddlefish! - Text Version

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Howdy! Do you know what these critters are? Paddlefish! It's one of the strangest fishes in Texas.

Paddlefish, (Polydon spatula) were once found in Texas from the Trinity River east to Louisiana, but loss of habitat has limited their range to the Red River below Lake Texoma.

Paddlefish grow to be 7 feet long and up to 200 pounds. They have a long paddle-like snout and a skeleton made of cartilage like a shark. They have skin without scales like a catfish.

Paddlefish move into free-flowing (not dammed) parts of rivers in the spring to lay their eggs on shallow gravel bars. Eggs stick to the bottom and hatch after about 9 days.

Paddlefish feed on tiny animals called plankton. They swim with their mouths wide open and filter zooplankton out of the water.

Hope you enjoyed our visit with the paddlefish and will join me next time. 'Till then, take care of Texas!

Adios, amigos!

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