TORONTO – A rare South American fish, known for its human-like teeth, was caught in a pond in New Jersey last weekend.
Ron Rossi and his son Frank were fishing at Swedes Lake on Sunday when they hooked the pacu.
“We scoop this thing up and brought it up. We didn’t know what kind of fish it was,” Ron told ABC News.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before in the lake. It was different,” Frank said.
After a bit of Internet research, the pair discovered it was in fact a pacu, a relative of piranhas.
As National Geographic points out, pacus normally swim the waters of the Amazon, not in man-made ponds in the U.S.
A young boy views a Pacu fish at the Beijing Aquarium on May 30, 2012. Mark Ralston/AFP/GettyImages
A young boy views a Pacu fish at the Beijing Aquarium on May 30, 2012.
New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection said pacus are often purchased as pets and dumped into lakes when they become too large for home aquariums.
Invasive fish with human-like teeth found in a New Jersey lake. Of course. 广州蒲友t.co/xX8iwu9XfP pic.twitter广州桑拿网/M53iQD0Frk
— Eric Berger (@chronsciguy) June 24, 2015
“These fish do not survive in colder water, so we encourage people not to release it into the wild but to humanely destroy the fish,” the department said in a statement.
Pacus have been given a bad rap over the years with claims of the South American fish biting human testicles.
In a 2013 interview with National Geographic, Copenhagen’s Blue Planet Aquarium curator Lars Skou Olsen said the testicle-biting claims are “rumours” after a pacu was captured in Denmark waters.
National Geographic reported the rumours are believed to have started in Papua New Guinea after local media reported two men died after being castrated by a pacu.