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Giant Testicle-Biting Fish: Facts About California's Latest Invader

Jun 07, 2016 09:57 AM EDT
Pacu fish
This image shows the very human-like teeth of the pacu fish.
(Photo : Creative Commons/Nisamanee wanmoon)

Here's another reason to keep your pants where it should be.

An exotic fish that has a reputation for biting off testicles has been spotted in California.

The man who came across the species was in shock after picking up the fish out of a pond.

In an interview with The Press Democrat, Juan Gallo, a Petaluma fisherman said, "It landed on the dirt and you could tell it wasn't anything we had seen before."

According to him, the teeth of the fish can be compared to those of a human. Its biters cut the line as he lifted it out the water.

So what is it about this ferociously-looking fish that we should know about? Here are some interesting facts you might want to know about the "nutcracker" pacu.

Where it came from

The pacu is a freshwater fish native to the Amazon River. It is normally found in South America, but has been recently seen in parts of the Michigan, New Jersey, Washington state, Illinois, Papua New Guinea, Denmark and even in Paris.

Vegetarian version of Piranha
Pacu is a cousin of the piranha, both sharing the same subfamily Serrasalminae. But unlike the carnivorous piranha, the pacu is actually omnivorous and more on the vegetarian side. Studies of the pacu in the wild have found that it mostly eats fruits, nuts and seeds. Thus, the "nutcracker" name.

Pacu as the "testicle-eating fish"

With its square-shaped and human-like set of teeth, the pacu has a reputation of sinking its teeth to human testicles. As mentioned in an article by HuffingtonPost, the pacu was featured in Jeremy Wade's Animal Planet show called "River Monsters." In the episode, Amazonians shared that two men in their locale died after their balls were allegedly eaten by the pacu.

Their jaws are so strong, they can crack any hard-shelled nut with its bite.

Size and Appearance noted that pacus generally come in shades of silver, red, brown, green and black. They are an extremely large species of fish that can grow up to three feet in length.

Pacu behavior

Pacus are available in pet stores in the United States. Aquarists consider them as best fish pets because just like dogs and cats, they develop personalities as they grow older and can sometimes recognize their owners.

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