Swedish swimmers warned to protect private parts after discovery of notorious exotic fish
Pacu, with teeth designed to crush nuts and fruit, is source of the caution
An exotic pacu has been caught in Sweden’s Oresund Sound, and it’s cause for serious alarm–especially among human males who like to swim there.
Pacus, which are native to South America, are related to piranhas, which have sharper teeth and are notorious for how quickly then can remove flesh from the bones of their prey.
But pacus, which possess teeth that are almost molar-like and are designed for crushing nuts and fruit, boast a reputation for attacking the most sensitive area on the male human body.
Thus, the Natural History Museum of Denmark has issued a warning: “Keep your swimwear on if you’re in bathing in the Sound these days.”
The Local, an English-language Swedish newspaper, quotes museum biologist Henrik Carl as saying, “The pacu is not normally dangerous to people but it has quite a serious bite… There have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea, where some men have had their testicles bitten off.”
Carl acknowledged that such instances are extremely rare, and that he was having “a bit of fun” in discussing this discovery.
But such an ominous warning is bound to at least temporarily eliminate skinny-dipping in the Sound.
Meanwhile, the presence of a pacu is as mysterious as it is troubling. More than likely, someone who had kept the tropical fish in a home aquarium released it into the Sound.
Are there others out there?
People are asked to be on the lookout, while also guarding their private parts.
“They are almost identical to the piranha, you couldn’t even tell from the outside,” Carl said of the fearsome pacus. “It’s just that they have different teeth. Flatter and stronger, perfect for crushing.”
To be sure, if the pacu were a shark, it would warrant a feature on “Shark Week.”
And Carl is not unlike those “Shark Week” experts who downplay the danger without really downplaying the danger.
While he confessed that “there’s nothing to worry about” and that Swedish swimmers are more likely to drown than being bitten in a sensitive area by a pacu, he did not entirely dismiss the danger.
“It could become a problem some time in the future if it’s not the only one,” he said. “This one was the first, but who knows, it’s probably not the last.”
And, in a related story from Vietnam:
Mystery fish attacks boys' penises as they bathe
Two young boys were badly injured after being bitten by a fish that attacked their penises while they were bathing in Kenh Giua River in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, Vietnam.
The attacks happened in separate incidents, but in both instances the boys were bathing naked.
In the first attack on August 5, seven-year-old Nguyen Huu Thien was bathing with a group of other children when adults heard him cry out and saw him trying to remove something from his penis. They ran to his rescue and on seeing his injuries, rushed him to hospital. It's thought that he may have lost most of his penis in the attack.
The second incident occurred on August 9 and involved four-year-old Nguyen Hoan Hao who is reported to have had half of his penis almost severed. A spokesman from the Thap Muoi District Hospital said that surgeons were trying to re-attach both the boys' penises. At the time of the report, the boys were still in hospital.
There are also reports that a third child has been attacked, but there are no further details except that the youngster involved has since been discharged from hospital.
The species of fish responsible hasn't been positively identified. Local people seem to think it may be an escaped White pomfret, which is a popular food fish — but a spokesperson for the Dong Thap Fisheries Department said that the culprits are probably blowfish (pufferfish), which will attack anything that enters their territory when they are breeding. The Mekong puffer (Tetraodon suvatti) pictured above can be particularly aggressive, for example.
Authorities of Tan Kieu Commune have now launched a hunt for the fish involved and nets are being used to search the river, but so far the culprit has eluded them.
Local residents have been advised not allow their children bathe naked in rivers and canals.
Those poor kids.....