Fun Nile Perch Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 25, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Read these Nile perch facts about this gigantic freshwater fish.

Nile perch (Lates niloticus) fish are aquatic animals from the Latidae family that belong to the ray-finned class of fish. The Nile perch originated in Africa and they are commonly found in Lake Victoria today.

They can also be spotted in Senegal, Chad, Volta, and Congo. Nile perch fish prefer living in warm water, in a region with moderate temperatures, and can be affected by even the slightest climatic change.

The Nile perch species is an invasive species and shows a negative effect on ecosystems. They prey on fish, crustaceans, and insects for food, and their young feed on zooplankton for food.

Sometimes, they even consume their own species as food. The average litter size of the Nile perch is 16 million eggs at a time, with an incubation period of 20 days.

These African fish have a body dipped in silver that is embedded with a pair of beautiful dark black eyes with yellow outer linings. The main threats to the Nile perch (Lates niloticus) are overfishing, the presence of water hyacinth (which is a pervasive weed), and the use of illegal fishing gear.

Despite this, their conservation status is recorded as Least Concern since they have a high reproduction rate.

If you like this article, then you can also read all about the giant trevally and the flounder.

Nile Perch Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nile perch?

The Nile perch is a fish species found in abundance in Lake Victoria. It belongs to the family Latidae.

What class of animal does a Nile perch belong to?

The Nile perch belongs to the class of Actinopterygii. It is a ray-finned fish and the Nile perch prefers living in freshwater.

How many Nile perches are there in the world?

The exact population of the Nile perch is currently unknown. Nile perches are found living in freshwater and these fish are one of the most invasive species ever, so much so that they caused the extinction of the native cichlid fish species in Lake Victoria.

Where does a Nile perch live?

These African fish prefer living in river basins, lakes like Lake Victoria, and in freshwater. They like to occupy water bodies at 33-196 ft (10-60 m) deep as they are able to find sufficient oxygen levels in these waters. However, juvenile perches like to stick to shallower parts of these water bodies, near the shore.

What is a Nile perch's habitat?

Nile perch fish are among the most dangerous aquatic animals because they are highly invasive. Lake Victoria, one of the most well-known lakes in Africa, is known for being home to a large number of Nile perches.

These fish were actually introduced to Lake Victoria by fisheries to help provide a boost to the fishing industry. Nile perches (Lates niloticus) are also known to inhabit Congo, Chad, Volta, and Senegal.

Who do Nile perches live with?

It is currently unknown whether Nile perches live in groups or in solitude in rivers and lakes. We do know that a warm habitat suits the Nile perch fish and that Nile perches (Lates niloticus) live in rivers and lakes, sharing their habitat with other fish species.

How long does a Nile perch live?

The Nile perch has a common life span of eight to 16 years. 16 years is the longest life span ever recorded for this fish species.

How do they reproduce?

Nile Perch fish (L. niloticus) are sexually dimorphic, representing two distinct biological forms. They are large fish that take three years to reach sexual maturity.

Their breeding season takes place mostly during spring when the temperature of the water starts increasing. Mating usually happens in covered areas but can occur in open water, and this is followed by an incubation period of 20 days.

What is their conservation status?

The Nile perch (Lates niloticus) is listed as Least Concern. This invasive species is found in lake and river habitats in abundance. Most other aquatic species in their habitats eventually reach extinction due to the feeding patterns of these Niles.

Nile Perch Fun Facts

What do Nile perches look like?

Niles fish are comparatively large fish. Their body is silver with a blue tinge.

One of the most attractive features of a Nile perch is its eyes, which are dark black with a perfect yellow outer lining. They are heavy water animals that are 6 ft (1.8 m) long and weigh around 242-440 lb (110-200 kg).

A female Nile perch is usually larger than a male. They also have strong spines and a second dorsal fin. They are ectothermic, meaning that they use natural heat to maintain their body temperature.

The Nile perch is also heterothermic, which means they can be affected by the environment's temperature very quickly. The Nile perch has a bilateral symmetry body structure which can be divided into two halves equally.

Juvenile Niles tend to inhabit shallow water regions near the shore.

* Please note that this is an image of a bass fish, not a Nile perch. If you have an image of a Nile perch please let us know at

How cute are they?

They are huge attractive fish with a bi-symmetrical body structure but they are not considered to be cute. Instead, they can be regarded as beautiful and majestic.

How do they communicate?

Nile perches communicate by touch. They communicate with different types of touch and different levels of pressure. Sometimes, they also use chemicals and smells to communicate.

How big is a Nile perch?

The Nile perch is 31-39 in (85-100 cm) long. The average weight of a Nile perch is 242-300 lb (110-140 kg). They are comparatively bigger than their other subspecies.

How fast can a Nile perch swim?

The Nile perch can go up to 33-196 ft (10-60 m) deep underwater but their exact speed is not known. One study in 1988 showed that they can swim 31 miles (50 km) in seven days, with breaks in between.

How much does a Nile perch weigh?

Nile perch fish are usually found in Lake Victoria and they have a minimum weight of between 4.4-8.8 lb (2-4 kg), while their maximum weight is around 242-300 lb (110-140 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for male and female Nile perch fish. Males are simply known as male Niles, and females are known as female Niles. Their scientific name is Lates niloticus.

What would you call a baby Nile perch?

A baby Nile perch is called a juvenile.

What do they eat?

They are carnivores and they prey on fish, insects, and crustaceans. Juveniles feed on zooplankton. Sometimes they even eat their own species. Nile perches are considered great predators, almost to a scary extent, as they are considered to be an invasive species. They even caused the extinction of the native cichlid fish in Lake Victoria.

Are they dangerous?

The Nile perch is one of the largest and most dangerous fish species in the world. Nile perches are considered dangerous due to their high fertility rate and their dominance in Lake Victoria and many other rivers.

There are more than 300 species that have become extinct due to the effects of Nile perch fish on their ecological system, showing just how drastically these fish affect the ecological balance in their habitat, whether it is a lake or a river.

Would they make a good pet?

Nile perches are one of the most dangerous fish species, and therefore, they require extremely careful handling. They are very destructive and would not make a good pet.

Did you know...

Nile perch skin is used to make leather. Their skin type is leather-like and helps create expensive leather merchandise including bags, shoes, and clothing.

It is sometimes difficult for fisheries to catch these fish as they are large and have leather-like, slippery bodies. These fish must be caught using sturdy fishing gear because of their slippery skin.

It is common for Nile perch fish grow larger at a very fast rate. They can grow up to 20.47 in (52 cm) within their first year.

Nile perch fish have a second dorsal fin.

The Nile perch has no natural predators as such. Nothing eats these Niles apart from humans and water hyacinth, which consumes them slowly.

History of the Nile perch

Nile perch were first introduced to Lake Victoria in the '60s. They are a large invasive species that destructively kill a lot of aquatic life in their waters.

What is the Nile perch's record size?

On December 20, 2002, William Toth caught the biggest Nile perch to date, weighing around 230 lb (104.32 kg). This was an impressive Nile perch record!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish, including the pilchard, or the ladyfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Nile Perch coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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