The Paco, is native fish to south America, which has been spotted spotted in waters near lake Michigan in recent years. As you’ll learn from the video below, the Paco has big teeth, but despite it’s rather menacing looks, it’s generally not considered to be “that” dangerous. Generally Pacos are considered to be rather harmless, even though they are considered to be a non meat-eating, distant, and “friendly” version of its more well known cousin, the piranha.
During recent days and months, several of these Paco fish have been spotted here in the United States near Lake Michigan, and while their description does describe them as the “friendlier” version of their man eating cousins, the piranha, that doesn’t exactly make them very friendly.
Fox News Insider Reports::
According to reports, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed several instances of the red-bellied pacu (shown above) being caught in local lakes.Officials believe that the pacu’s existence in the area is likely related to a pet owner releasing them into a waterway. The pacu, which has been called the “testicle-eating fish,” is native to South America but is imported to the United States for sale by pet stores for aquariums.
Fish with human-like teeth and a reported penchant for chewing on men’s testicles have been found swimming in Michigan lakes.
Several anglers have hauled the odd-looking specimens out of the water, prompting a warning from wildlife experts.
They are pacu fish, close relatives of the piranha – and pet owners release the fast-growing omnivore into the wild because they become too large for aquariums.
But Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said releasing the animals “is almost never humane”.
“Pets released from confined, artificial environments are poorly equipped to fend off predators and may be unable to successfully forage for food or find shelter,” said Nick Popoff, manager of the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit.
“Those that do succeed in the wild can spread exotic diseases to native animals. In the worst-case scenario, released animals can thrive and reproduce, upsetting natural ecosystems to the degree that these former pets become invasive species.”
The fish can grow up to 3ft and weigh 55lbs in the wild and have such powerful teeth to help them crunch through nuts, fruit and plants.
Pacu became notorious in 2013 following a warning from a professor at Copenhagen's Museum of Natural History after a Danish fisherman caught one of the large specimens.
Professor Peter Rask Moller said he was 'half-joking' when he said the fish could mistake human testicles for their favourite food of tree nuts.
Afterwards he told CNN: "We did say that we recommend men to keep their swimsuits tied up until we know if there are more pacus out there in our waters. Of course, this is half a joke since it is very unlikely that you would actually meet one here and that it would bite you. It's up to people themselves how careful they want to be. I'll keep my shorts on, though."
Rumours over their testicle-eating habits may originate from Papua New Guinea where the fish are known as ‘Ball Cutters’.
Against my better judgment, fearing that continued research into a genitalia eating cousin of piranha’s could only lead to bad Karma… I decided I would dig a little more, but whatever I found next, that was it. There was no way I wanted to risk the bad mojo. Low and behold, I came across the following video that does a good job clearing up any confusion…
JUST HOW REAL ARE THE GENITAL EATING FISH?
A South American fish with uncannily human-like chompers has been unexpectedly showing up on Michigan anglers' hooks.
The fish are red-bellied pacus (Piaractus brachypomus) and are piranha relatives, though their diet is mostly vegetarian. Pacus are popular with aquarium owners for their unusual square teeth that look remarkably human —rather disturbingly so, in fact. But recently, pacus have been sighted in places where they shouldn't be: Lake St. Clair and Port Huron in southeastern Michigan, where three pacus were caught during the month of July.
The pacus were almost certainly introduced into the lakes by former owners who kept them as pets, according to a statement released Aug. 9 by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). [Photos: The Freakiest-Looking Fish]
Pacus are native to the Amazon and Orinoco river basins and flood plains. Their flattened bodies resemble those of their sharp-toothed piranha cousins, but their own distinctive teeth are used for crushing seeds and nuts. Pacus can grow to be about 35 inches (89 centimeters) in length, and pet owners may be dismayed to find that their exotic pet can outgrow its tank, which can prompt them to release the fish in the wild, according to the DNR.
Warm temperatures are vital to the pacus' survival, so they are unlikely to become established as an invasive species in Michigan's seasonally cold waters. However, releasing pets in the wild is not only harmful to the animals and likely to result in their death, but could have severe implications for native wildlife and ecosystems, DNR officials said in the statement.
Pacus have been found in Michigan waters before, but this is the first time that people have caught three of them in one week, according to Nick Popoff, a biologist with the Fisheries Division at the DNR. Popoff told Live Science that it's possible the three fish came from a single tank that was dumped in a public access site.
"Pacus' temperature requirements are tropical, and Michigan is not a tropical state," Popoff said. "They're not going to be able to survive our winters, so we don't consider them invasive. We're concerned with this because it highlights the issue of pet owners releasing their pets into the wild."
Goldfish have also been released into Michigan lakes by their owners, but unlike the pacu, they survive year-round and are successfully breeding.
"We have reproducing populations of goldfish in Lake Erie and Lake St. Claire." Popoff explained. "They're an example of an aquarium disposal over time that has created a naturally reproducing population of non-native fish."
In addition to Michigan, at least 26 other states in the U.S. have reported pacu captures in the wild, the DNR said.
"Invasive species are extremely damaging — to Michigan, the Great Lakes, even globally. But the message here is more about individual responsibility," Popoff told Live Science. "Releasing that fish into the wild — you're killing it, even if you don't think you are."
While I was on the topic about something scary, but true at the same time, I thought I’d share some other true stories, but these don’t have such happy endings and are likely to keep you up at night if you scare easily! Enter at your own risk!
CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING SCARY STORIES:
~ THE UN-SILENT MAJORITY ~