The 11 year old snakehead involved in a year-long legal battle with the state Department of Environmental Conservation died Wednesday last week.

Owner Chris Deverso said he stuck his hands in Rocky’s tank when he noticed the fish struggling around 9 p.m. “By the time I found him, it was already too late,” he explained. A water test carried out by Deverso revealed nothing unusual and there aquarist had not noticed any signs of disease.

Deverso said snakeheads can reach an age of 10-15 years in the wild.

Since 2004, it is illegal to keep sneakheads in New York. In June 2009, Deverso was finally given a permit to keep Rocky provided that he kept the aquarium locked.

Deverso is now looking for a taxidermist to have the body preserved.

“This isn’t a goldfish you get at the fair and flush down the toilet,” he said. “I’ve got 11 years of stories with him. I want him to always be with me, to always be talked about.

For more info on Rocky, read our earlier post “Death sentence might be revoked for New York snakehead”.