PIRANHAS - The Excellent Pack Hunters

Piranhas are fishes that come in many colours and are often depicted as nasty, hungry attacking fishes thirsty for your blood and I honestly couldn't concur more..

They are mean, angry, scary, and very hungry and always out on the look for a little flesh that they can get to nibble upon. I remember my first encounter with piranha and it scarred the fins out of me, actually, it was from the Hollywood classic 'Piranha the movie, 1978' where in the first scene the swimmer falls prey to these excellent pack hunters and gets gorged to death- the first scene where the piranha opens its eye, yeap that exact scene had scarred the gills out of me, or was it fins?! I don't know I was a little kid just scarred by these hungry mean pack hunters.
I mean don't get me all wrong that is what the movies do, they scare you and mislead you, well I was until I got to know a little more about them. The fact is piranhas aren't all that bad simply because they are nasty looking and the real fact is they are even nastier when they come in packs, so yes if you are in piranha-infested water, 'you better run better run faster, than the bullet' I mean the pack of piranha's, I am not trying to 'foster any people here' just making a point that I was misled and they can be pretty darn nasty when in packs but allow me to share a tad bit of interesting facts about these ultimate pack hunters.

Piranha means 'fish-teeth' in Amazonian indigenous languages and piranhas need warm water to survive - piranhas cannot live in water that is less than 10 to 12 degrees Celsius, which is why they are mostly found in abundance in South American and Brazilian Amazonian waters to Columbia to Argentina the piranhas are indigenous to a certain said specific geography. However, they have also been found in parts of China as well as Bangladesh but that is mostly due to illegal trade.
Piranhas have an excellent nose and it enables them to sniff out the minutest of smells that can be identified as 'grub-time' and they have razor-sharp teeth's with the tooth enamel structural density similar to that of sharks….eeeks! If that's not frightening enough, piranhas have a singular row of triangular teeth that are razor sharp which allows them to nibble quickly and the more they nibble the more it leads to blood flow of the target prey attracting more and more piranhas, hence cometh the piranha pack and the prey becometh the snack.

I mean just look at those teeth, aren't they straight out from the circus of horrors which will give the viewer many sleepless nights.  The average size of a piranha is 7 to 12 inches in length however, some have been recorded to measure up to 22 inches in length. The most famous is the red-belly piranha species which have a silver coloured form that is covered in red patches, but other piranhas can have shades of black, green and yellow. This provides a form of camouflage in the muddy waters these fish live in. Thanks to the work of Hollywood, many believe that piranhas have a voracious diet for blood, but surprisingly, they are omnivores, they eat both animals and plants. The diet of the piranha usually consists of fish, snails and other aquatic animals, plus plants, seeds and fruit. Should an animal or any mammal fall into piranha-infested waters, these pack hunters will devour them in a group, but this isn't a frequent occurrence. Phew!

Piranhas have been with us for a very, very long time. Fossils have indicated that piranhas have been around for about 25 million years. The modern piranha are thought to have been around far less than that – a relatively shorter time – just 1.8 million years.  Piranha's reproductive cycle is fast there are two spawning a year for piranha - The first one takes place in spring with the second in summer. Male plays a huge role in the reproductive cycle. A female piranha will lay about 5 thousand eggs. The male's job is to fertilize them. But that's not where his participation ends. The male piranha will take this job so seriously that he will become territorial of the eggs and will protect them however he has to. That is some severe protective parenting.

Humans have found a use for the piranha, I mean humans are one species that can find a use for anything anytime I mean it is humans who invented waste and then started recycling it so likewise in native cultures in South America humans have used and continue to use piranha teeth for both tools and weapons, and they are also caught for food, hmm! 
Careful human - if you are hoping to buy a piranha as a pet in an aquarium. Piranhas can be bought for this purpose but check your local laws as in most countries it is illegal to have one.
Irrespective it goes without saying that the movies have given piranhas a corrupt reputation. Commonly speaking, these fish are quite shy and are considered non-aggressive. However, when protecting eggs or their young, you may see a slightly different side to these fish. Lastly, piranhas can bark. Red-bellied piranhas have been observed making bark-like noises when caught by fishermen. Studies show that they make three distinctive types of noises based upon different situations and behaviour. So yes eeeks again!


Sharma Alok

Sharma Alok

Jeevoka member since Dec 2021

Shape thrower walking this planet watching, admiring all species and loathing humans whilst he walks..