Pacu Fish Facts: 5 Interesting Things About This Omnivorous Fish With Human-Like Teeth
Over the weekend, a fish with human-like teeth has been caught in a pond in South Jersey. During a fishing excursion, a resident from Delran, Burlington County caught an Amazonian fish known as Pacu, ABC News reported.
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The rare and bizarre catch was made by Ron Rossi on Sunday at Swedes Lake. Together with his son, Frank, and a fishing buddy, they originally thought that the fish with human-like teeth was a piranha.
So, what is a Pacu fish? Here are 5 interesting things about this omnivorous fish with human-like teeth.
1. Pacus are related to piranhas. But unlike their carnivore or meat-leaving cousins, Pacu is listed as an omnivore, which means they're eating either plants or other animals, ABC 7 has learned.
2. Pacu fish looks like a piranha. But instead of razor-sharp teeth, this Amazonian fish has flat, human-like teeth. Its molar-like teeth are used to crush food like nuts. Thus, it is dubbed as "Nutcracker" in South America, New York Post revealed.
In addition, a fully-grown Pacu has well-defined incisors located at the front of the jaw, and three sets molars in the upper jaw and two rows in the lower jaw. And aside from Pacu, the Sheephead fish has also human-like teeth but a little too many.
3. Many pet owners often mistakenly purchase the Pacu as piranha. While flesh-eating piranhas can grow and weigh up to 55 pounds, Pacu can grow up to four feet long. As per Daily Mail, a 10-inch Pacu was caught in northern New Jersey in September 2013, followed by a 17-incher in Washington state. Two months later, a 20-inch Pacu was caught in Southern Illinois and a 14-inch was found in Michigan's Lake St. Clair last summer.
4. Pacu's native habitat is the Amazon, however, the fish with human-like teeth can also be found in Oceania, Scandinavia, and Paris. And while they aren't aggressive like the piranhas, their crushing jaw system can be hazardous.
In Brazil, it was reported that the fish ate the testicles of swimmers and fishermen mistaking them to be floating nuts. Thus, they earned the name "Ball Cutter" after they castrated a couple of local fishermen in Papua New Guinea, Amusing Planet noted.
5. Pacu cannot survive in colder water. However, Daily Times Gazette said wildlife experts are worried that the spread of Pacu into lakes may endanger the local fauna as they can compete with native fish for food. Experts also added that they could introduce exotic parasites and diseases.
Meanwhile, authorities are warning the public to stay out if the water due to the possibility that there are more fish with human-like teeth in the lake.