Red-Bellied Pacu Not Necessarily a Vegetarian
Animal Planet's River Monsters series gives us a closeup look at the fish found recently in Lake Saint Louis.
KSDK Channel 5 broke a story Tuesday about an unusual fish caught in Lake Saint Louis. The red-bellied pacu, a South American native, had probably been dumped out of someone's aquarium when it grew too large.
The fish had been taken to Petland by Lisa Fanger, who hooked the fish, to await transfer to a suitable tank. Unfortunately, it died there and will probably end up mounted on a plaque on Lisa's living room wall.
Dietary Habits of the Red-Bellied Pacu
The fish, a relative of the Amazon's piranha, normally eats vegetation, fruits and nuts, according to Animal Planet's River Monsters page. At first impression, one might believe our South American visitor to be a harmless tourist. But there's a darker side to the story.
Purportedly, the pacu has been known to attack humans.
According to River Monsters, when their normal diet is not available, the pacu will eat fish. And they're known to nosh on humans, too.
"In 2001, two fishermen in two separate incidents reportedly bled to death after their genitals had been bitten off by pacu fish," the River Monsters website reports.
Perhaps it's best that the red-bellied pacu has been removed from its temporary home. We can only hope that it was the only one. And if skinny-dipping in Lake Saint Louis was in your summer plans, you may want to reconsider.