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Piranha: The Most Feared Fish printer.gif

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Fishing for piranha with nets.

The piranhas are a group of carnivorous freshwater fish living in rivers of the Amazon Basin. They are normally about 6 to 10 inches long, and they get a lot of bad press.

Many people fear the piranha. However, once you begin to realize there is very little to be frightened of, you can begin to realize how interesting piranhas are. To people of the Amazon, piranha are an important source of food. Many people set nets to catch them. And yes, they taste great!

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There are about 20 species of piranha found in the Amazon. Perhaps the most talked about is the red-bellied piranha. Its sharp teeth and protruding jaw give it a fierce look. Adult red-bellied piranhas hunt in large schools or groups, usually in the morning, late in the afternoon and late at night. Groups of piranha feed together and cause quite a stir in the river's water.

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Always make sure that the piranha is dead when you pull it out the net. Warren found out the hard way and lost part of his thumb to this piranha.

Piranhas generally eat other fish, insects, worms, and algae. They have an amazing sense of smell and can easily detect movement int the water. However, some species of piranha actually feed on fruits and nuts when other food is scarce. During the flood-season of the Amazon, fish can be distributed far away from the river channel. This makes it hard for animals that rely on fish for food.

For further exploration, visit these web sites

Shedd Aquarium: Red-Bellied Piranha

The Piranha Biology

The Houston Zoo's Piranha Page

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