Fun Florida Gar Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Jan 12, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Read these interesting facts about Florida gar to learn more about this species of fish that has toxic eggs to protect against predators.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

TheFlorida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus), alternatively known by its common name Florida garpike, is a strong fish and, regardless of the presence of sharp teeth, is a peaceful fish and not at all aggressive to their tank mates. The Florida gar has an air bladder which it uses to filter poorly oxygenated water. Florida gars are mainly found in the United States, from the Savannah River in Georgia to the Ocklockonee River in Florida and Georgia.

Florida gars are also found in Florida, by and large to the north of Lake Okeechobee. Florida gars are a longnose gar species with a broad snout that is less 75% of the length of the head. There is a solitary column of unpredictably separated sharp teeth on both the upper and lower jaws. Despite the fact that Florida gar fishes frequently travel in schools of two to at least ten, males and females have no particular mates. Instead, they tunnel into swamp dregs and stay dormant through the dry season.

Florida gars are carnivorous fishes, and they feed on small fishes, shrimps, and vertebrates for food. But, on the other hand, these fishes are eaten up by predators like alligators and some species of birds.

Here, we have many amazing and interesting facts about Florida garfish that you will enjoy. Let's take a look at these facts and information, and if you enjoy these then, do read our garfish facts and spotted gar facts too.

Florida Gar Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Florida gar?

The Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) is a species of garfish belonging to the family Lepisosteidae. These gar species have sharp teeth, ganoid scales, irregular round black spots on their white to yellow belly, and dark stripes along the back and sides. Florida gars lack bony scales on the ventral surface of the isthmus, which has an inward back and an arched front. These gars are usually a dark olive-brown in color along the back and upper sides. These spotted gars additionally have a highly vascularized swim bladder that acts as a lung and inhabits the Florida gar to breathe air in even a low oxygen environment. Florida gar is a carnivorous fish that prey upon small fishes and shrimp for their food needs.

What class of animal does a Florida gar belong to?

Florida gars are a species of gars, and gars are fishes, so like all species of fish, they belong to the class Actinopterygii.

How many Florida gars are there in the world?

The exact estimate of the total population of Florida garfish is yet not available, but their conservation status is of Least Concern which implies that they are present in large numbers in the ecosystem. Therefore, we need not worry about their conservation or about their numbers dropping.

Where does a Florida gar live?

The Florida gar's natural habitat is found mainly in Florida. These spotted garfish are found in the United States from the Ocklockonee River seepage in Florida to the Savannah River drainage in Georgia. The Florida gar is likewise found in peninsular Florida, to the north of and in Lake Okeechobee.

What is a giant Florida gar's habitat?

Florida gar species usually prefer to live in streams, canals, and lakes. These Florida garfish are mostly found along river drainage systems.

Who do Florida gars live with?

Florida gars prefer to live in groups of 2-10 similar Florida gars. They all burrow into underwater vegetation and hibernate during the dry season.

How long does a Florida gar live?

Not much information is available about the lifespan of this fish.

How do they reproduce?

In spite of the fact that Florida gar regularly travels in gatherings of 2-10 other gar fishes, the males and the females have no particular mates, and they don't form bonds. The breeding usually takes place in early spring and late winter. For breeding, the groups of both sexes assemble in shallow weedy waters, where the females place their adhesive eggs among aquatic plants. Males discharge sperm over the gar eggs, which are highly toxic, and both sexes leave the breeding territory. There are no parental feelings involved with the eggs, and as soon as spawning ends, both the parent fishes leave the spawning area. The young Florida gars have an adhesive organ on the end of their snout to stay attached to vegetation.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Florida gars is Least Concern, which means that their population is currently stable.

Florida Gar Fun Facts

What do Florida gars look like?

Florida gars are the most common type of gar found in Florida.

Florida gar or the spotted gar is a longnose gar species with ganoid scales and a broad snout. The length of the snout is 75% less than the length of their head. Florida gar has irregular black spots on top of the head, body, and fins. There is a solitary column of unpredictably separated sharp teeth on both the upper and lower jaws. The separation from the front of the eye to the back of the gill cover is under two-thirds the length of the nose in the Florida gar, while it is more than two-thirds of the length in the spotted gar. They additionally have an air bladder which they use to filter the poorly oxygenated water.

How cute are they?

Florida gar species with their large snout and oddly colored body are not very cute in appearance. They do not look very appealing.

How do they communicate?

Their communication process is not yet known, but they are believed to use their sense of vision as well as chemical cues to know about their predators, prey, vegetation, habitat, and surroundings.

How big is a Florida gar?

Florida gar size range is between 20.3-52.0 in (51.7-132.2 cm) in body length. Florida gars are very small in size as compared to the alligator gar as the body size range of alligator gar is between 70-72 in (177.8-182.8 cm).

How fast can a Florida gar swim?

Not much information is available about the swimming speed of a Florida gar.

How much does a Florida gar weigh?

Their weight range is between 3-9 lb (1.3-4.2 kg), which is much less than the weight of an alligator gar. The weight range of an alligator gar is 300-350 lb (100-159 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to a male Florida gar or a female Florida gar.

What would you call a baby Florida gar?

A baby Florida gar doesn't bear any special name.

What do they eat?

Their diet is carnivorous in nature. This species of fish prey upon small fish, insect larvae, and shrimps. They also feed on zooplankton. Florida gar teeth are very sharp, which helps this fish to prey upon smaller fishes and eat them well. Adult Florida gar is snare hunters; they tail their prey and use a horizontal lurch of their long heads to strike and catch them. These strikes are extremely short and quick. After getting their prey, the gar whips their head from one side to another to control the prey prior to repositioning it to swallow it headfirst.

Are they invasive?

Florida gar is not a very invasive fish, and it rather prefers to live in groups of 2-10.

Would they make a good pet?

Florida gars make amazing aquarium pets because they are not very territorial or aggressive in nature. In fact, you can install an entire Florida gar aquarium consisting of Florida gar and other fishes of similar species and sizes. Florida gar care is somewhat complex because of its size and particular aquarium requirements.

Did you know...

Gars are edible, but their eggs are toxic. So, a gar can't actually kill you.

Young Florida gars have an adhesive organ on the finish of their snout to stay attached to vegetation.

The gars are edible fishes, but they are not a very popular food as they're toxic to many animals, including humans and some birds.

Gar follow aestivation, which is like hibernation in different species to bring down their metabolic rate, which permits the Florida gar to withstand high temperatures and dry states of their living spaces throughout the mid-year.

Ecological factors, for example, photoperiod, water temperature, humidity, and precipitation, are known to impact interior rhythms in fishes of this species, including their process of reproduction and breeding.

Some other gars include freshwater garfish, shortnose gar, and longnose gar.

How to catch Florida gar?

Florida gar fishing tips and Florida gar regulations to catch this fish includes using baits like cut bait and minnows or some artificial baits like spinners or spoons. Florida gar fishing can be done by using drift fishing, still fishing, fly fishing or bait fishing methods. Also, it is very important to keep the Florida gar vs. spotted gar difference in mind to avoid catching the spotted gar, which is very similar in appearance to the Florida gar.

Can you keep Florida gar?

Yes, you can keep a Florida gar as a pet, but it is quite difficult to maintain as it grows a lot bigger in size, which leads to the demand for more space.

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 garfish facts and giant oarfish facts pages.

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

Florida Gar Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fish, shrimp, crayfish, insect larvae, fish food

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

6000 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

3-9 lb (1.3-4.2 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

lakes, rivers, wetlands, canals

Where Do They Live?

united states

How Long Were They?

20.3-52.0 inch (51.7-132.2 cm)

How Tall Were They?

50 inch (127 cm)







Scientific Name

Lepisosteus platyrhincus

What Do They Look Like?

Green, brown, white, black

Skin Type

Wet and slimy scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss, overfishing, predators

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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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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