Piranha-like fish found in White River in Indianapolis - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Piranha-like fish found in White River in Indianapolis

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Indiana DNR Indiana DNR

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is warning against the illegal aquarium release of exotic fish species after a piranha-like fish was found in the White River.

The DNR says the fish is a pacu, a species that is very similar in appearance to the piranha. It would not have survived a cold Indiana winter. 

Pacu have a different jaw structure and teeth from piranhas, but they do have powerful teeth. The pacu, which can reach over 50 pounds, is native to Brazil but has been turning up in places like Sweden and Denmark, where it prompted concern because of reports that it will go after men's private parts.

DNR also said on its Facebook page, "This fish was obviously raised for many years within an aquarium environment before being released. We encourage people to return these fish when they become too large to aquarium stores and societies that equipped to handle these exotic fish. If not, humanely euthanize them instead of subjecting them to a slow death in our winters."

Pacu are vegetarian in their native environment and do not pose a danger to humans, although there have been some reports of pacu biting children's fingers.

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