Varal (Snake Head)

The body is long and cylindrical with a huge mouth and serpent like head. The dorsal surface and sides of the fish are dark and mottled with a combination of black and ochre. Its Belly is white. Its large scaled head is where it gets its name as it is very reminiscent of a snakes head. All Snake heads have deep and wide gaping mouths full of sharp teeth used for disabling and holding prey items.

The snake head murrel (Channa striata), is a species of snake head fish. It is known as Varaal/braal/vatton in Malayalam, viral in Tamil. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, It is well known for its medicinal properties.


It is known that this fish is very rich in albumin, a type of protein is important. Albumin human body needs every day, especially in the healing process of wounds. Provision of fish meat protein extract cork or has attempted to increase the levels of albumin in the blood and help cure some diseases. The Regular use of this fish helps to alleviate the conditions such as diabetics, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, depression etc. In south-east Asian Traditional Medicine, murrel has an important role.


The murrel fish is rich in omega fatty acids and proteins which helps to accelerate the healing processes. The murrel fish also contains the vitamins like C, B -Complex, D etc. and the Minerals like selenium, iron, calcium, Phosphorus etc.

Feeding and Breeding:

Feeds on fish, frogs, snakes, insects, earthworms, tadpoles and crustaceans. It is carnivorous. This fish is remarkable for its parental care. During migration these fishes even sail through backwaters to reach the next water body. Very often this fish can be seen coming to the surface of the water to gulp in air. During drought, they bury themselves in mud, and remain there in dormant stage, till the next monsoon comes. This is both edible and a preferred aquarium species