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Author Topic: Do piranhas ever kill people?  (Read 34216 times)

Offline David Cooper

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Do piranhas ever kill people?
« on: 14/02/2012 00:21:39 »
I've heard it claimed many times that piranhas don't kill people, most recently in a documentary where they said piranhas have taken bites out of people from time to time, but that that's as bad as it gets. Then the other day I found a rather unpleasant set of photos which I don't really want to link to from here as it includes dead bodies with substantial proportions of them missing, and one image shows a survivor with a hole in his face and numerous others elsewhere. I'm wondering if all these pictures can be written off as fakes, because some of them don't look as if they can be. I suppose I'll have to link to it if you're to be able to judge, but please don't click on this if you don't have a strong stomach: http://www.eface.in/piranha-fish-attack-photos/
« Last Edit: 14/02/2012 00:23:37 by David Cooper »


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Do piranhas ever kill people?
« Reply #1 on: 14/02/2012 11:07:37 »
I don't know.  People swim in the Amazon, so perhaps the attacks are rare.  But, the piranhas are supposed to be able to strip a cow carcass pretty quickly.

The last picture on the page is the African Goliath Tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath), and is not a Piranha, nor is it in South America.

Most of the images that on that page come from a movie called "Piranha 3D".  The spiny fish appears to be a movie prop.  It doesn't look like the Piranha photos I've seen, and I don't know if it is a real fish.  Perhaps it is modelled after a combination of Piranha, deep sea fish, and a bit of Hollywood creativity.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Do piranhas ever kill people?
« Reply #2 on: 15/02/2012 01:01:39 »
Yes, I've forced myself to look more closely can can now see the obvious things I missed before, like the bits of 35mm film across the picture of the man with the hole in his face. That's a relief. I've been watching too many of those River Monsters programmes, so it seemed quite plausible, particularly after the New Guinea programme with an introduced relative of the piranha biting mens bits off, and some of them bleeding to death. I think I'll keep out of the water, just in case.
 

Offline JP

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Re: Do piranhas ever kill people?
« Reply #3 on: 15/02/2012 12:43:26 »
I recalled reading somewhere about the attacks on humans being (mostly) myth.  Then I recalled it was Wikipedia (it's always Wikipedia, these days...):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piranha#Legendary_reputation
 

Offline Sprool

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Re: Do piranhas ever kill people?
« Reply #4 on: 17/02/2012 12:18:21 »
I have gone swimming in the Amazon with pyrhanas on a jungle trip about 15 years ago. We also fished for them and ate them for supper. Most pyranas are not carnivorous, they are bottim feeders living off  dead fruit dropped from the trees. The red belly pyraha is a carnivore and shoals of them can be whipped up into a feeding frenzy like sharks when they are hungry and smell blood in the water. This is the root of the scares.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Do piranhas ever kill people?
« Reply #5 on: 09/04/2012 18:50:14 »
I was suffering from extreme lack of sleep when I started this thread, so I wasn't as much on the ball as I'd have liked - I was in the middle of a local political campaign over some environmental destruction and found the images linked to above while hunting for a picture of a prianha to use for my Twitter avatar to fit in with the rest of the team (we wanted to look like a school of prianhas attacking the enemy). Anyway, I've caught up on sleep since. Last night I saw a repeat of the "River Monsters" episode on prianhas which I realise I half saw before (I was working at the same time and didn't take much of it in), but it got my full attention this time.

In this programme, Jeremy Wade visited a remote village where the people lived in floating houses at the edge of a river, and the river was packed full of prianhas which ate all the fish waste that they dropped in when preparing meals. He demonstrated what they could do with a dead duck, and they were pretty quick at reducing it to bones even though it wasn't the dry season when they're at their most hungry. He then heard an account of how during one dry season a three-year-old boy had fallen in and been attacked instantly by prianhas to the point that by the time they managed to fish him out with nets, they just got back the bones. Is their account credible? Well, most of them had missing bits of toes due to piranha bytes, and one had the tip of his nose missing for the same reason. There really do seem to be places where you need to keep out of the water because of these fish.
 

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Re: Do piranhas ever kill people?
« Reply #5 on: 09/04/2012 18:50:14 »

 

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