A Detroit woman was fishing with her husband when she reeled in what turned out to be a South American Pacu fish.
Holly Luft says she and her husband Tom were fishing in Michigan's Lake St. Clair when she caught a strange looking fish. Upon further examination, the Lufts discovered that the fish actually had teeth.
“I’ve been fishing most of my life, but never caught anything like this before,” said Holly Luft to The Detroit News. “The teeth made it look like a piranha. My husband used a net to bring it out of the water and it was going crazy.”
Although they suspected that the fish was a piranha, the Lufts weren’t entirely sure, and after a park worker was unable to help them figure out what it was, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was called. The park worker sent them pictures, and after an analysis, they were told that the fish was in fact a South American Pacu.
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The Michigan DNR says that the fish is a cousin of the piranha and has teeth that closely resemble those of a human being. Experts say that the Pacu fish has been known to sometimes bite off human testicles. Mike Thomas, a biologist with the DNR who confirmed that the fish was a Pacu with the help of the University of Michigan, says that the fish was most likely someone’s pet.
“Someone buys one as a pet and then it gets too big for the aquarium,” Thomas said. “Then, instead of dispatching the fish, they toss it into the lake.”
Thomas strongly encourages anyone who finds a fish like the Pacu that’s not native to Michigan to preserve it and call the DNR. Holly Luft says that the fish is now being kept in her freezer.
Sources: 10 News, WXYZ, The Detroit News