Society

Man Catches Piranha In Arizona Lake

| by Emily Smith

A piranha was caught in Arkansas last week, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesperson Keith Stephens stated that the large fish was caught on Friday and that it wasn’t the first time a piranha has been caught in the state. However, the fish doesn't normally stick around for long.

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“We get a few pacus and piranhas caught from time to time. They get too big from someone’s aquarium and they release them,” Stephens said. “They cannot survive our low winter water temperatures, so no populations have ever been established.”

Roger Headly, a Bella Vista resident, was the fisherman who made the unusual catch. The fish almost bit his finger off when he went to remove its mouth from the hook. Instead of returning the fish into the water, Headly killed the piranha so that it would no longer cause any concern in the area.

Headly said he was shocked to find “something like that” in Lake Bentonville. He has since warned others about the potential dangers lurking in nearby waters.

According to Army Corps Engineers spokesperson Alan Bland, piranhas are often found in local lakes after their caretakers decide to dump them from aquariums. Bland noted that piranhas are not dangerous to swimmers during this time of year when water temperatures are still cold, since the icy water makes them non-aggressive and sluggish. In this case, piranhas could only survive a few days.

The last confirmed sighting of a piranha in Arkansas was in 2014 in Beaver Lake.

The AGFC has reminded state residents that it’s illegal to introduce non-native species into the water. Those in violation of the law could face a fine of $2,500 and 90 days in jail.

Sources: Inquisitir, NewsWeek / Photo Credit: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission