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Gar Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
Common Name:
Most widely used name for this species
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
The area where the animal first came from
American waters
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
0.6m - 3m (2ft - 9.8ft)
Water Type:
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
Optimum pH Level:
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal
6 - 9
How long the animal lives for
10 - 20 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Grey, Blue, Black, Brown, Yellow
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Lakes and slow-moving rivers
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laid at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Fish, Insects, Invertebrates
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Large Fish, Alligators, Humans
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Elongated body and sharp needle-like teeth

Gar Location

Map of Gar Locations
Map of North America


The gar (also known as the garpike) is an elongated species of fish, generally found in freshwater habitats across North and Central America. Despite their similar appearance, the gar is not to be confused with the marine garfish or needlefish that is a common sight throughout the tropical reefs of south-east Asia.

There are seven different species of gar found on the American continent where they can be found in fresh or brackish water habitats such as lakes and reservoirs, and in the larger slow-moving rivers. The gar is most commonly found in eastern parts of North America, Central America and also on a number of the Caribbean islands.

The gar is a generally quite large species of fish, with some individuals able to reach lengths of 3 meters or more. Although not all gar species are quite so big, they are all generally large fish and therefore dominant predators within their environments.

Gar are generally slow-moving fish and so must rely on the power and strength of their jaws in order to catch their prey. Gar have a long jaw which is filled with sharp, needle-like teeth and can often be seen together in small groups as they try to ambush their prey as one.

The gar is a carnivorous and dominant predator within its environment feeding only on other animals in the water. Gar primarily hunt fish, insects and other invertebrates such as crabs along with eggs and other animals in the water.

Due to its large size and aggressive temperament, the gar has few natural predators within its native environment. Larger animals including crocodiles, alligators, large fish species and humans are the main predators of the gar.

Many gar spawn during the warmer spring months between April and June although they have been known to mate until the autumn weather appears in early October. After mating, the female gar lays an average on 10 sticky eggs on a nearby leaf or branch, where they remain until they hatch. As with many other fish species, the gar parents do not look after their young once they have hatched.

Today, the gar is not considered to be a species that is under threat from extinction although gar populations have been decreasing in specific areas mainly due to over-hunting and pollution in the water.

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First Published: 14th June 2010, Last Updated: 10th September 2018

1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Jun 2010]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Jun 2010]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 14 Jun 2010]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 14 Jun 2010]