INSTANT DEATH. IMMEDIATE TRANSITION FROM FLESHY HUMAN TO SKELETON WITHIN SECONDS. Or so that is what movies have always portrayed whenever some unfortunate souls (usually raunchy teenagers) go for a swim in piranha infested waters.
I thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious idiocracy of Piranha 3D released in cinemas in 2010 about thousands of prehistoric man-eating fish being released from an underwater crevice and terrorizing horny teenagers who have an unhealthy obsession towards skinny-dipping. A particularly enjoyable scene was when the razor-fanged marine creatures chomped off a douchebag’s penis and it comes flacidly floating right at you in glorious 3D before being swallowed by a piranha and belched out again.
While I did enjoy laughing my ass off at the attempts of producing an excessively gory film based on killer fish, I definitely will not be too amused if someone actually tried dunking me into a tank of piranhas. Pop culture has successfully managed to spread piranha fear-mongering among the masses, and people are definitely not jumping at the chance of swimming in piranha infested waters as much as they love diving off seaside cliffs.
Are piranhas really the aquatic velociraptors as they are fear-mongered in the media? The reality is that piranhas are almost equivalent to ants. They do not attack live humans, they only clean up after dead animals, keeping the waters clean and corpse-free. Check out this clip below from River Monsters where Jeremy Wade goes wading in a kiddy pool saturated with piranhas. Before his little dip, he even poured in a cup of blood and a chunk of raw beef to induce them into a feeding frenzy.
“I am surprised the water did not go out of the pool, due to the weight of his balls,” a commenter who goes by the username SexyMuffin so eloquently echoed our sentiments of Jeremy Wade’s steel balls.
In the video, the piranhas very distinctively kept a large distance away from Jeremy Wade when he lowered himself calmly and non-threateningly into the tank. They cowered in the opposite end of the pool and actively tried to keep the furthest distance away from him.
There have only been a few recorded tragedies of piranhas killing people, and most of it stemmed from drought conditions where food is scarce and they are driven mad with hunger. Some humans start eating other humans too when they are starving.
In one unfortunate circumstance of a supposed piranha-on-human attack, a six-year-old girl was found dead with her legs masticated by piranhas. The girl had fallen in the Maicuru River near the town of Monte Alegre when the canoe she was in with her grandmother and four other children capsized during a storm. Her grandmother was able to rescue the other children and the six-year-old had been dragged off by the torrential currents. It is not known if the girl had already drowned before the piranhas ate her legs off.
Another incident involved an inebriated 18-year-old man who jumped out of a canoe in the Bolivian town of Rosario del Yata. He died after bleeding to death from dozens of piranha bites. Law enforcement authorities suspected that the man had intentionally committed suicide as he was a fisherman in the region who was aware of the Yata river’s piranha population.
The media has a penchant of over-hyping the truth in order to gain more viewership. “Piranhas Mistakenly Nibbles on People” is not as attention-grabbing as The Daily Mail headline “Piranha Attack! 70 Christmas Day Bathers are Savaged”. Articles about residents of the central Argentine city of Rosario encountering some piranhas as they took a dip in the River Parana on Christmas swarmed the internet back in 2013 with increasingly dramatic claims of injuries as each media site tried to out do its rivals. The reality was just a bunch of minor cuts and a chunk missing from a finger tip.
Our ludicrous fear of the fish that gives lesser medical problems than dog bites do, originated from Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of U.S.A. In 1914, Teddy published a book titled “Through The Brazilian Wilderness” where he described his encounter with piranhas.
“They are the most derocious fish in the world,” Teddy wrote. “The head with its short muzzle, staring malignant eyes, and gaping, cruelly armed jaws, is the embodiment of evil ferocity; and the actions of the fish exactly match its looks.”
Look at this adorable face just hoping to be loved
Now, that’s just cruel prejudice. Just because they are not as pretty as other fish doesn’t mean that they are innately malevolentl and plotting to take over the world.
Teddy’s account came after he witnessed a live cow torn apart and obliterated by piranhas within seconds. This short snippet of a story was then reiterated all the way to this time and age. What Teddy and the rest of the world then didn’t realize however, is that the locals wanted to put on a dramatic display of a show for him, so the Brazilians trapped hundreds or maybe thousands of piranhas in a netted-off stretch of the river and starved them for days which created the ideal conditions for a horror scene.
When Roosevelt arrived, oblivious to the piranhas strategically situated in a cordoned off area, a sick old cow was led into the water, its udder slit to release blood and further encourage an attack. The piranhas, trapped and driven wild with the scent of blood after days of almost starving to death only carried out what the locals manipulated them into doing.
If you ask me, I think humans are the only real monsters here capable of carrying out an unfathomable amount of repulsive atrocities.
Hi, I'm Cheryl. I possess a joie de vivre spirit unique to my character, my expressions of euphoria are wild in nature and I approach life like one colossal party. I love venturing into the unknown and exploring all that is possible; from exotic foods to cliff-diving. When I am not seeking out something extraordinary to check off my bucket list, I love curling up on a comfy couch with a glass of wine and a book in hand. Follow my personal adventures in my blog here where I let loose of all inhibitions, voice my inner-most emotions, exult in all that is wonderful, unleash the monsters within, lose myself in beautiful reveries, reminisce treasured memories and curate recherché experiences.