Rare fish with 'human-like' teeth found in Delta

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Rare Fish With Human-Like Teeth Found in California


BY RINA NAKANO, FOX40

SACRAMENTO COUNTY — Photos of a mysterious fish caught in the Delta last week are going viral.

The photos were posted on Facebook by a woman who said she reeled it in near the Stockton Boat Docks. Many are now wondering if it is a dangerous piranha.

FOX40 spoke to many fisherman along the Delta to see if they had ever seen it before.

Duncan Darr is the manager of Cliff's Marina. In the last decade, he has become an expert on Delta fishing. When FOX40 showed him the photo, he had no idea what it was.

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Neither did fellow fishermen, Ben Pelka or Jerry Buchman. So we turned to the experts.

"This is called a Pacu. It's in the piranha family," California Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Andrew Hughan sand.

The Pacu is native to the Amazon. In California, it is considered an invasive species, and most likely, someone just dumped it in the Delta.

"In some states they are legal to be imported. Somebody probably brought them when they moved here from another state. It happens," Hughan said.

Q&A with Andrew Hughan:

1. Will it hurt me?
A. "They're in the piranha family. But they are not going to strip a cow carcass down in 45 seconds or anything like that."

2. Can we eat it?
A. "The skin absorbs a lot of chemicals, so we do not recommend it."

3. Can we still swim in the Delta?
A. "Yes, worst case scenario, it may give you a little bite, but there is a very small chance of that."

4. There is an urban myth that fish from the piranha family will attack testicles. Is it true?
A. "They'll eat other bugs, and other fish. But they're not going to go after... Parts. Male parts? No, they're not going to go after male parts That's an urban myth."

5. What do I do if I catch one?
A. Do not throw it back in the water. Instead, dispose of it properly or take it to an aquarium.

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