Fun Dog Snapper Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Dog Snapper Facts For Kids

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Let us deepen our search for knowledge and discover a fish species today. Do not let the name mislead you. The dog snapper fish gets its name from the fierce canine teeth present on its upper jaw and its tendency to open and shut the mouth at infrequent intervals. These canine teeth are visible even when their mouth is closed. They are very sturdy fish with an almond-shaped body with a mix of olive green and copper brown. The fish adults have a unique triangular bar under its eyes.

Their habitat range extends across the Atlantic ocean. These fish are known to cause Ciguatera poisoning. The Ciguatera toxin works up to its way in the marine food chain and ultimately lands into the human system causing food poisoning.

Please read on to discover more fun and fascinating facts about the dog snapper. You can explore more exciting facts in these Caribbean reef shark facts and wolffish facts articles.

Fun Dog Snapper Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Crabs, shrimps, smaller fishes, cephalopods, and gastropods

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

63 lb ( 28.6 kg)

How long are they?

24 in (60 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Bronze-brown, yellowish orange, and olive green

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What were their main threats?

Humans, Sharks, Groupers

What is their conservation status?

Data deficient

Where you'll find them?

Estuaries, Coral Reefs, The Atlantic Ocean


North And South America









Dog Snapper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dog snapper?

The dog snapper is a fish that belongs to the family Lutjanidae, which includes about 105 species under it. These fish are abundantly found in tropical regions. The maximum length recorded for this fish species is 50 in (128 cm). But on average, their body length measures 24 in (60 cm ). The maximum recorded weight for this fish species is 63 lb (28.6 kg).

What class of animal does a dog snapper belong to?

The dog snapper belongs to the class Actinopterygii, a class of ray-finned fish. This class includes 99% of the fish species under it.

How many dog snappers are there in the world?

The exact population count of the dog snapper is unknown. But their population is seeing a decreasing trend due to rapid urbanization due to which the coastal areas are infringed upon, leading to habitat loss for these fish species.

Where does a dog Snapper live?

The dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu, habitat is spread from the western Atlantic Ocean starting from Massachusetts to Brazil. They are a rare occurrence in the north of Florida. They are also observed to be inhabiting Ascension Island and St. Paul’s Rocks in the eastern Atlantic ocean.

What is a dog snapper's habitat?

Adults are seen prominently along the coral reefs and at rocky bottoms at depths of 100 feet (30 m). Young snappers populate estuaries and also go inshore exploring rivers.

Who does dog snapper live with?

In the wild, the dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu, are solitary creatures living in secluded parts of coral reefs. However, in aquariums, they are placed in huge tanks with their school of fish.

How long does a dog snapper live?

The life span of the Dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu, depends on the location. The dog snapper found in Cuba will live for 9-16 years. The fish found in Brazil may live up to 20-29 years. They are a very hardy fish species.

How do they reproduce?

Dog snapper spawning occurs in March, mainly near Jamaica and the northern Caribbean. The adult snapper fish lay their eggs and sperm in their habitat range. Snapper fish are fecund fishes meaning they lay eggs in large numbers, sometimes amounting to multiple thousands. Ocean currents disperse the larvae. There is insufficient information on the larval development of these fish. Juveniles are red or brown with yellow fins. Juveniles shift to coral reefs or the rocky bottoms until they become adults.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List categorization places these fish species as Data Deficient. This indicates that there no sufficient recorsa available about this fish species.

Dog Snapper Fun Facts

What does dog snapper look like?

The dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu, has a deep body and long pectoral fin. They have a rounded anal fin and a dorsal fin that is two in number. The upper body and the back is olive green. The lower part is copper-colored. The young dog snappers have a distinct blue line horizontally present below the eye and along with gill covers. There are 12-gill rakers present on their lower body. Dog snappers have unique and prominent canine teeth in the upper jaw, giving them a savage look. There is the absence of dark spots on the dorsal fin. All their fins are dark-colored.

The red snapper can be differentiated from the dog snapper by its body color, a lively bright red. The lower body of the red snapper is silver-white, whereas the dog snapper is copper brownish. In addition, the red snapper has a pointed anal fin, whereas the dog snapper has a rounded anal fin.

The dog snappers are a significant part of the Atlantic marine life and delight catch for the Anglers.

How cute are they?

The greenish hue with the brown tinge gives them a mild and cute appearance. But their canine-like dentition may be a downer for the onlookers.

How do they communicate?

There are many ways in which the snappers communicate. Common means are sound, color, motion, electric impulses. The communication channels help them navigate away from the predators, locate their food, call for spawning. The snapper fish are visual feeders but have poor vision. Hence, they need their prey in high concentration to get optimum food.

How big is a dog snapper?

The adult dog snapper can grow in length up to 24 in ( 60 cm ). However, they are three times smaller in length than the cubera snapper, which measures 63 in (160 cm) in length.

How fast can a dog snapper swim?

Dog snappers are known to be swift swimmers. If you strike a conversation with an Angler, they will narrate how difficult it is to keep these fish baited before being pulled in. With their swift swimming abilities, they give the anglers a run for their money in getting caught.

How much does a dog snapper weigh?

The dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu, weight can measure up to 63 lb (28.6). Therefore, their weight is two times heavier than the weight of Northern red snapper 29 lb (13 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species are called male dog snapper and female dog snapper.

What would you call a baby dog snapper?

The baby dog snapper is called by various names depending on the stage of its development. Fresh out of the hatch, they are called larvae. The larvae float on the water surface, and they mostly become food for many other marine creatures. Next, the larvae develop into a fry. The fry is independent and is capable of feeding itself. When the fry develops scales and functional fins, they are called fingerlings. They will now be the size of a human finger hence the name.

The young dog snapper has a distinct blue horizontal line below its eye.

What do they eat?

The dog snapper fish has nocturnal predators with night feeding habits. They feed on smaller fishes and benthic invertebrates like shrimps and crabs. They are also known to feed on gastropods and cephalopods.

Sharks and groupers predate the dog snapper. In addition, many marine organisms make the juvenile dog snapper their prey.

Are they poisonous?

These fish species have high commercial importance, but they are also notorious for causing ciguatera poisoning. So yes, this fish can be termed poisonous but not dangerous. The toxin called Ciguatera comes from the dinoflagellates. These algae varieties found on dead corals are consumed by the herbivorous fishes, which get eaten by the snapper fishes.

When these toxins accumulate in the body of the dog snapper and passes on to the human consumer, it causes poisoning to humans. It can cause illness with symptoms ranging from stomach uneasiness to weakness of limbs. The symptoms may last for a couple of days, and it is rare to find any other severity caused by Ciguatera poisoning.

Would they make a good pet?

Dog snappers grow to a considerable size and live with a large school of fish in captivity. The requirement for the grouping and the size they grow into, the house aquariums are not the best options for them. They are not for novice owners.

Dog snappers need huge saltwater community tanks, a minimum of 300 gallons (1135.6 ltr). The more enormous, the better for these snapper species. These fish are non-aggressive by nature. They need a minimally decorated substrate in the tank with few rocks or some hardy corals. They fare well in temperature ranges between 72°F and 82°F (22.3-27.8°C). The PH value optimum for survival is between 8.1 and 8.4, which is slightly alkaline. Water hardness preferable is between 8 and 12.

Did you know...

The snapper dog is the only species in the family Lutjanidae that uses a freshwater environment.

The fishermen catch these snappers with gill nets, traps, handlines, seines, and spears.

There are certain 500 species of fishes capable of changing their gender after birth; these fish are called hermaphrodites.

Can you eat dog snapper?

Yes, the dog snapper is a good quality fish in many cuisines. This fish has a firm and lean texture. Their flesh is white, mild, and delicate. The moist nature of the flesh provides a sweet and fresh taste to the palate.

It is good to note that these snapper fish are a healthy food option. Fish meat is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, as per the American Heart Association, regular fish consumption decreases the risk of heart ailments, high blood cholesterol, and atherosclerosis.

Do they bite?

Yes, the dog snappers tend to bite. There is a reason why they are called snappers. Many anglers have cited instances where these snapper fishes have bitten them fresh from a catch.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our herring facts and darkling nurse sharks facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dog snapper coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

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