A schoolboy got the catch - and the shock - of his life when he stumbled upon a scaly reptilian-like fish in a calm Leicester shire canal.
Shawn Brown, 14, found the armored sucker mouth catfish, normally found in South America, on the banks of the Grand Union Canal.
Despite the fierce looks of the creature, it is a herbivore which lives off the algae at the bottom of rivers.
The schoolboy found the remains of the fish - which is believed to have struggled with the cold winter temperatures - on the canal-bank, and had to get experts to identify it.
It was finally named as an armored catfish - more officially known as Hypostomus plecostomus - normally live in Panama, Costa Rica and South America and experts say the 10inch long specimen is the first time one has been found in our waterways.
John Hall, who runs All Seasons Angling tackle shop in Wigston, Leics, said: 'We are only 300 yards from where Shawn found it and he came in here and showed me the photo.
'It's scales were very shiny and very hard, almost like a crocodile.
'He went home and looked it up on the internet to try and see what it was but he had to send it off to experts to identify it.
'It had teeth as well and I'm sure it was scare a lot of anglers who saw it swimming up river. But it looks worse than it actually is.
'He is a good little fisherman and as soon as he saw it Shawn knew it didn't belong here.'
The fish pose no threat to humans although it is not known what effect they would have on native fish if they were to ever breed here.
Their tough armoured plating acts as a defence mechanism to ward off predators in tropical waters.
How it found its way to Leicestershire is still a mystery but it is unlikely it has migrated here. Instead its believed to have been a pet released into the canal after growing too big for an aquarium.
Ian Wellby, a fisheries scientist, said: 'It is not something you want in your freshwaters but it is quite harmless.
'It is the first one I have ever heard of in Britain before.
'It is a warm water fish and could not survive our winters.'
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