“The return of the testicle-eating fish” sounds more like a b-movie that should never happen, let alone an actual news item. But, alas, another of those slightly freaky looking fish with the human-like teeth—officially known as pacu—has been caught in a man-made lake in Delran, New Jersey. Which is somewhat baffling, as the pacu are native to South America, and are most frequently found in the lakes and streams of the Amazon.
Ron Rossi was the unfortunate fisherman who caught the pacu, thankfully with his pole and not any part of his anatomy, while out with his son in Swedes Lake. And contrary to the slightly horrifying reputation of the fish, they are in fact omnivores. As Larry Hajna, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection told USA Today, “the fish is designed to eat fruits and nuts that are dropped into the river.” Hajna said. “That’s why it has human-like teeth.”
But legend goes that sometimes, as Henrik Carl, a fish expert at at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, told The Local, the pacu “bite because they’re hungry, and testicles fit nicely in their mouth.” Which is something probably better not thought about too hard—but there are stories of invasive pacu causing the deaths of two men in New Guinea in 2011 after they were relieved of key genitalia.
So should New Jersey’s fisherman remain above water and on guard? Probably not. It is most likely that the pacu was an aquarium pet who was released into the wild by an owner after it got too big; the fish can grow to three feet long. And it’s pretty unlikely they’ll stick around and populate the lakes of the northeast—as tropical creatures they have a decidedly limited lifespan when released into the wilds of North America.
Via The Patch
Image credits: Henrik Carl, Natural History Museum of Denmark