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Creepy, prehistoric fish in CA looks scary, harmless to humans

Posted at 12:45 PM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 12:45:07-04

OROVILLE, CA (KRCR/CNN) - As scary as it looks, this creepy-looking fish is completely harmless.

Officials say the lampreys have become more visible in California' s Feather River.

The fish has always lived there, but the Oroville Dam Crisis four months ago have made them more visible.

Lampreys can grow up to 3 feet, but their food is only other fish; they are parasites that latch onto other types of water life.

"We don't tend to see these things in the (Feather River Fish) hatchery anymore, so this is like a new thing, even to those who have been here for a long time,” said Jana Frazier, a tour guide wit the Department of Water Resources in Oroville.

Commenters on the Feather River Fish Hatchery Facebook page are worried they will bite humans, but they only attach to other fish.

“So it's cool, it's creepy, prehistoric looking like a sturgeon, but it's totally harmless to people, you've got nothing to worry about if you go wading or swimming in the river," Frazier said.

The February flood that almost breached the dam allowed cold river flows and allowed lampreys to swim into areas they normally couldn’t reach, according to KRCR.

Copyright 2107 KRCR,  Department of Water Resources, via CNN. All rights reserved.