Don’t Freak Out Over the Red Piranha Found in Louisiana
If you haven't heard, the entire state is rethinking their swimming plans now that an honest-to-goodness Red Piranha has been found in a Louisiana lake. You read that right, the much-sensationalized, razor-toothed fish famous for devouring large animals in a fury of swirling, red water has been found right here in the Sportsman's Paradise.
According to the official press release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the catch of the year happened at University Lakes in Baton Rouge. That's where a single Red Piranha specimen was recovered. As you can probably deduce, these blender-fish are as invasive as an invasive species can get - but you don't need to freak out just yet.
The reason we haven't already taken to dynamite-fishing these guys out of our waterways is this: a lone piranha doesn't quite constitute a threat to life and limb. The reason these things are so scary is that they never hunt alone - their terrifying key to victory lies in numbers. According to the Smithsonian, it would take 300-500 of these fish to devour a human - and there has never been a recorded case of it happening outside of a James Bond movie. Reportedly, the closest case involved someone having a heart attack while swimming. When that body was recovered, it showed evidence of a few piranha bites.
The bloody legends that surround this terror-fish probably date back to at trip Teddy Roosevelt took to South America in 1913. The locals stretched a net across a river to catch the fish and starve them. When Teddy showed up, they released the fish and tossed in a dead cow which the fish devoured in moments. Mr. Roosevelt spread the story far and wide (with a bit of embellishment) - and the rest is history.
With that in mind, the lone fish found in our backyard poses little threat unless hundreds of his buddies show up next. Most likely, he is a long lost pet. That being said, if you see another (or more), please report right away to the LDWF. The aquatic invasive species hotline is 225-765-3977.
Experts say if you catch one while fishing - don't return it to the water. Good luck getting it off of the hook!