15 Fin-tastic Facts About The Climbing Perch For Kids

Climbing Perch facts to dive into the world of this Walking Fish.

What image do you visualize in your mind when you think of a fish? An animal living in water may not survive if you take it out of water. But to challenge this notion, we present the Climbing perch, a labyrinth fish capable of air-breathing and survive without water for up to 10 hours. It was believed that this fish could climb trees, hence the name. Isn't that fascinating? This fish is also called a walking fish as it can walk and live out of the water using its gill plates and tail as support. These perches have particular organs for air-breathing near their gills to absorb the atmospheric oxygen for breathing. They are primarily native to Southeast Asia and are known to invade new territories up to Australia.

This fish is also popular in the culinary world in Asia for its nutritional value. The fact-finding expedition is only going to get more exciting ahead so read on. You can also find our exciting fact compilation on spotted catfish and lake whitefish right here.

Climbing Perch

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Aquatic vegetation, shrimps, and smaller fishes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

5000-35,000 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1-1.7 oz (30-50 g)

How long are they?

9.8 in (25 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, green

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Canals, ponds, lakes, swamps, rivers, and estuaries


Asia, Australia





Scientific Name

Anabas testudineus





Climbing Perch Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a climbing perch?

Also called the Climbing gouramis, these fish belong to the Anabantidae family in Kingdom Animalia. They are labyrinth fishes capable of gulping atmospheric oxygen from the water surface. Anabas testudineus are chiefly freshwater species only rarely found in brackish water.

This fish group Anabas is believed to have come into existence by including many different species of its kind under its name. Further classification is impending to differentiate the variety of fish under its name.

What class of animal does a climbing perch belong to?

The Anabas testudineus is classified into the class Actinopterygii. They are also called ray-finned fishes. The unique features of these fishes include a rigid skeleton, the presence of a swim bladder, and having leptoid scales.

How many climbing perch are there in the world?

The study on the population of Climbing perch is quite tricky as these fishes are believed to be a species complex that is yet to be classified further. But it very safe to assume that the native community of Anabas testudineus species is in good number in its given habitat range because they are easily found across their native habitat in South-East Asia.

Where does a climbing perch live?

The perches are found in canals, ponds, lakes, swamps, rivers, and estuaries. They inhabit the Southeastern parts of Asia, including India and China up to the Wallace Line. There are reports that this invasive fish has extended its territory to the east to Indonesia and Australia apparently by flying aboard the fishing boats.

What is a climbing perch's habitat?

This fish is potamodromous, meaning they are migratory and are found at demersal depth in the sea or rivers. They prefer thick vegetation as an abode. They can survive harsh water conditions like turbidity and stagnant waters in their native environment.

Who do climbing perch live with?

Their size and predatory behavior make them incapable of living in a community. They are highly territorial and have few cited instances where there has been the observation of intraspecies aggression.

How long does a climbing perch live?

The lifespan of the Climbing perch ranges from five to eight years. They are known to be bred by few aquarists. With proper care and ambiance, these fishes live longer.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding occurs between March and August, but the peak of breeding occurs in May and June. The Climbing perch attains reproductive age after one year. During breeding, the males and females generate a reddish hue on themselves. The abdomen looks bulgy.

During mating, the males wrap themselves around the female and fertilize the eggs while they are being laid. The female lays 200 eggs on average and can lay 5000-35,000 eggs in a single spawning event. The eggs rise to the water surface and hatch in 24 hours. These fishes lack parental affiliation, and the fry is left to fend for itself.

What is their conservation status?

As per the IUCN Red List, their conservation status is marked as Least Concern. This fish is found in abundance and also bred by aquarists in few countries in the east for their culinary value. However, intensive fishing may be a cause of concern for the population count of these Walking fishes and their links to population decline in specific ranges.

Climbing Perch Fun Facts

What does climbing perch look like?

Anabas testudineus fish have dark to pale green coloration on the ventral side. The dorsal side is a shade of olive. The head comes with longitudinal stripes, and their iris is golden reddish. Scales are large and arranged in regular patterns. They use gill plates for locomotion on land. They can survive for several days or weeks without water if the labyrinth organ next to the gills can be kept moist. Pectoral fins assist in their movement on land.

The Climbing perch have specialized organs to breathe the atmospheric air.

How cute are they?

The small size and the green hue give them an endearing appearance. Locomotion on land with their jerky body movements also looks very cute to watch.

How do they communicate?

They communicate with one another based on visual and tactile modes. The breeding season sees a change in their appearance to bright colors to communicate their readiness to mate. They wrap on each other to initiate mating. The vibrations from the swim bladder also create signals for their communication channel.

How big is a climbing perch?

The Climbing perch can grow up to 10 in long. They are smaller than Green terror that can grow 12 in long.

How fast can a climbing perch swim?

The exact speed of the Climbing perch is not known. As the Climbing perch are migratory, they are believed to be good swimmers. They can overcome the challenging conditions of flooded waters and turbid water streams by swimming efficiently.

How much does a climbing perch weigh?

The Climbing perch weighs up to 1.7 oz. They are minuscule compared to the Tiger oscar that can weigh up to 3.5 lb.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific terminology for the male and female perches. They are called male Climbing perch and female Climbing perch, respectively. There is no clear distinction between the male and the female.

What would you call a baby climbing perch?

The baby Climbing perch can be termed larvae, fry, or fingerling based on the stage of theirs development. When they hatch and retain their yolk sac for nourishment, they are in the larvae stage. When they are independent of feeding themselves, they are called fry. After developing scales and fins, they become fingerling.

What do they eat?

This is a predatory fish in the wild. Their food includes vegetative matter like algae, rice grains, shrimps, small fish other than their kind, few invertebrates, and mollusks.

Are they dangerous?

This fish is not known to pose any threat to humans. They are pretty peaceful beings, aggressive only to defend their territories.

Would they make a good pet?

They make good pets with the proper environment provided to them. They need a minimal setup of aquarium tanks with ph levels 7-8 and a temperature range between 71.6-80.6°F to be maintained. Quality flakes, pellets, and veggies, and worms make a healthy food diet for this fish.

Did you know...

There has been a myth that the Climbing perch fish can climb low trees. The reality is that their limited physiological adaptations only allow them to move across slowly on land with the help of their fins. They cannot climb trees but can move on land with the motion of their tail and fins.

This fish is known to keep itself buried in the mud during the dry season.

This fish can migrate to flooded areas during the flood season and return home when the dry season returns.

Studies suggest that Indian Climbing perch are a rich source of protein, fat, amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids.

How does the climbing perch breathe on land?

These animals in the family Anabantidae are evolved with a specialized breathing organ called the labyrinth next to their gills, which allows the animal to breathe atmospheric oxygen from the water's surface. Given the organ adaptation, this fish has the air-breathing capability for a longer time. The well-developed vascular system provides increased respiratory surface area. This type of adaptation is predominant in species inhabiting low oxygen levels in their surroundings.

What is the biggest climbing perch?

The Anabas cobojius is one of the two species recognized under the genus Anabus. They grow up to 12 in large and are the bigger fish under the Climbing gourami genus. They are found mainly in India and Bangladesh.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fishes from our pigfish fun facts and glowlight danio facts pages.

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



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