Testicle Eating Fish Discovered in Illinois Lake
Toothy Pacu Fish Found in Lake Lou Yaeger
The testicle eating fish called pacu, featured on an episode of Discovery Channel's River Monsters, have been found in an Illinois lake.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water ...
Pacus eat nuts, aquatic vegetation and snails -- they're a fan of testicles too. Ouch.
A pacu fish was discovered in Lake Lou Yaeger in Illinois, when a fisherman thought he had caught a piranha on June 7. The fish was taken to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and identified as a pacu.
There have been reports of another pacu seen in the lake as well, though no others have been caught.
On the reality series River Monsters, fisherman Jeremy Wade visited Papua New Guinea to reel in the pacu fish, which is known as the "ball cutter," so named because two fisherman died from blood loss when the pacu bit off their testicles.
He reported the pacu had "human molars and the fish have powerful jaw muscles. They are very deep bodied and solid like a carp, with strong muscles."
What was the pacu fish doing in Illinois? They're native to the Amazon Basin, so you might say they're a little far from home.
Biologists believe that they were aquarium pets that someone dumped into the lake.
Wade commented on the fish at the Discovery Channel blog:
"Pacu are normally vegetarian, but can be carnivorous. They are also very hardy fish, good at surviving outside their native Amazon, as long as the water isn't too cold. In Papua New Guinea, they have bitten people; however, this was following a stocking of thousands of fish, into a situation with very few native species and a shortage of their preferred type of food (seeds and nuts). The fish in the reports are almost certainly pet fish that outgrew their tanks. In order to breed, there would need to be many more of them in the water. While it would not be true to say there is no risk of being bitten by a pacu in the US, the chances would be very small. Driving to and from the lake would be many times more dangerous."