Fish with human-like teeth caught in Russia

The pacu fish is known for its weird human-like teeth.
The pacu fish is known for its weird human-like teeth.

A bizarre fish with "human teeth" has been plucked from a large pond in the historic city of Tula in western Russia.

The terrified anglers handed in their unsettling catch to authorities, who identified it as a pacu, an omnivorous freshwater fish native to South America and a cousin of the more carnivorous piranha.

"The fish has been confiscated from the fisherman and sent for examination," city spokeswoman Varvara Trunova told local media.

Ms Trunova said the fish was 20cm long and weighed 240g and may have been an exotic pet abandoned in the lake after it grew too large.

The pacu fish is notorious for its teeth, which look uncannily human. It's not normally found outside its native South America, where fishermen are familiar with their creepy looks.

The pacu is feared by fishermen in its native South America for its powerful jaws, which can "rip off a man's testicles with a single bite", earning it the nickname "The Nut Cracker".

However, fish may have an unfairly bad rap.

According to Wikipedia, the testicle-biting claim is erroneous and originated in Denmark, where a fisherman caught a pacu in 2013.

The catch led to media reports mistakenly warning that the fish could attack male testicles but the reports were based on a joke.

The pacu is a popular pet when young but tend to get dumped in public waterways when they grow too big. The species has also turned up in rivers and ponds across the US, Europe and even Papua New Guinea after being dumped by thoughtless owners.

The fish are popular in pet stores as juveniles, but can reach up to 30cm in length, outgrowing most home fish tanks.

Fishermen are encouraged not to release pacus back into the water because they are considered invasive.


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