Testicle-Biting Fish Makes Headlines, But Fears May Be Overblown

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A fish called the pacu has been making headlines recently because of warnings to fishermen from Danish fish experts that the toothy swimmer is known for biting off testicles, causing men everywhere to cringe in horror and vow never to go swimming ever again. But now, cooler heads are saying the hysteria is out of control, and there's no reason to be afraid.

The trouble started last week when experts from the Natural Museum of Denmark made the following statement to a Danish newspaper: "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. They bite because they're hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth."

News of the horrible testicle-eating fish spread faster than a video of a kitten doing something cute.

But since the uproar started, the museum's experts have backed off their statement, saying it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and pointing out that people seemed to have ignored that they also said having one's testicles bitten by a pacu is actually very unlikely.

Lars Skou Olsen, curator of Copenhagen's Blue Planet Aquarium, has said the pacu's predilection for testicle-chomping may not even be true. "I think it's just a rumor," Olsen told National Geographic. "There's no need for swimmers to worry at all. They will be lucky if they see [a pacu]."

Jeremy Wade, host of Animal Planet's "River Monster," told Esquire magazine that he agrees the panic has been over the top. "Yes, there is a chance that someone's little Benjamin there could get bitten by one of these things, but the likelihood is minimal, I think," Wade said. "If you want peace of mind, just cover yourself up and I think you'll be all right."

The pacu looks just like its cousin, the piranha, with the important distinction that its teeth are flat like a human's instead of being razor sharp. They are native to the Amazon, although they have spread to other areas of the world, like Scandinavia. In fact, a fisherman caught a Pacu from a lake in Washington state just last week. The angler reeled in the pacu without any harm befalling his testicles.


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I watched the River Monster episode on the pacu in Papua New Guinea. Some idjits had imported them from the Amazon and released them into PNG rivers, thinking they\'d be good for fishing, seeing as they\'re a cousin of the piranha but not meat-eaters. But without natural predators, their numbers sky-rocketed and they ran out of tree nuts to eat. So, starving, they turned to human nuts. The host of River Monster interviewed a man who was bitten in the nuts by a pacu. And now apparently they\'ve spread elsewhere. The moral of this story is, don\'t import fauna and flora into an ecosystem where they don\'t belong. The pacu were completely harmless in the Amazon.

August 15 2013 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, I don't want that fishing going after my nuts! On the other hand, can you catch pacus and eat them like a flounder? Do they taste good? Just curious.

August 15 2013 at 6:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Men watch out don't cheat on your wives or girlfriends....someone might get an idea...the news is out

August 15 2013 at 6:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

much easyer for them to bite the Nuts of OLD MEN.They can be swimming near the bottom of ocean

August 15 2013 at 5:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

so...... women (and/or) men who have had their equipment cut out to become a tranvestite have nothing to worry about.

August 14 2013 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A testicle biting non-human aka A Kardashian.

August 14 2013 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How do you mistake 'nuts for 'nuts?"

August 14 2013 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

vegeitarians, they feed them grapes in fish tanks

August 14 2013 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What does the Vt. Game warden in the pic. have to do with the Danes and Jeremy Wade?

August 14 2013 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sanya Brown

gez 2463, They are not vegetarions, they eat live fish, meat such at hamburger and beefheart. I had one as a pet for years, when he got too big for my tanks I gave him to a pet store owner who had a 200 gal home aquarium. He was 27 inches long and weighed over 5 lbs. when I gave him away. The reason I had him was because he BIT the previous owner. If they are not fed and are hungry they will bite.

August 14 2013 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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