It sounds like something out of a science fiction flick. But the testicle-eating pacu fish is the real deal. They can grow up to 55 pounds and have mouths full of teeth. Got that? TEETH. In a fish! Oh, and gentlemen, you may want to invest in a cup, because it has been found right here in the good old US of A.
Of course no one is sure exactly how they got to the States from their native South America, where the pacu goes by the nickname the "ball cutter" (has such a nice ring to it, right guys?). But one was caught in Lake Lou Yaeger last month, and another is said to be swimming around the Central Illinois lake.
It's kind of well, OK, I'll say it ... fishy! Isn't it? Everything about this creepy critter is so strange that how it got here might actually be the least mysterious part of it!
The bet is that they were former aquarium pets released into the lake, which is ironic. The pacu is usually found in the Amazon basin in South America, but they were released en masse in Papua New Guinea in the eastern hemisphere, where they were supposed to boost fisheries. And they were supposed to be vegetarians. Only that's where people claim the "ball cutters" were snapping at the testicles of fishermen. The story goes that two men actually died from blood loss.
Makes you wonder what else they eat, doesn't it? If they snap at whatever's dangling in the water, I wouldn't want to be a lady lying with her chest in the water and wham, bam, thank you ma'am those WERE your boobs. Or heck, maybe you'll just lose a toe. I don't know.
I do know that the pacu made the rattlesnake that was spotted in the creek where I was swimming with my daughter and cousins last week seem almost cuddly. At least I know exactly what that thing would have done to us if I hadn't gotten the kids out of the water as quickly as I did!
I don't envy the jobs wildlife officials in Illinois have now. They are scrambling to convince freaked out menfolk that the testicle-chomping pacu is perfectly safe.
They say the scaly beasts prefer to eat aquatic vegetation and snails, but would you take a chance? I know I wouldn't!
Image via simononly/Flickr