A pair of west Texas fisherman hauled in an authentic Jeremy Wade-certified river monster.
According to the San Angelo Standard-Times, two area men were casting for catfish in the Concho River late last week when instead of a mudcat, the men landed a 21-inch, 7.95 pound red-bellied pacu, a piranha-like fish native to the Amazon.
Authorities believe this pacu had been dumped in the Concho by an aquarium owner after the fish had outgrown its tank. Pacu are increasingly popular as pets.
The pacu lacks the dagger-like fangs of the piranha. Instead, it uses it's uncannily human-like molar-ish teeth to devour insects, aquatic vegetation, occasional small fishes, and tree nuts.
Ordinarily. According to some reports, on at least two occasions, the pacu has feasted on nuts from another source.
According to the River Monsters website, in two separate 2001 incidents, two anglers from New Guinea, where the pacu had been introduced, bled to death after the demon-fish chomped down on their genitals and ripped them off. Ever since, locals have called the pacu the "ball-cutter fish."
These accounts enticed Wade -- truly one of the most utterly deranged men ever to appear on TV -- into packing up his tackle box and heading for the tropical nation's Sepik River, where locals told him that survivors of these attacks likened the experience to having an aquatic human gnaw on your genitals.
(Excuse us while we cancel our upcoming Concho River fishing trip.)
Okay, we're back.
Michael Price of the San Angelo Nature center told the Standard-Times that a single pacu presents little danger to local fishing stocks, but added that a breeding colony of the fish could decimate native breeds. Deprived of their normal vegetarian staples, the pacu reportedly can quickly adapt to a more carnivorous diet. Possibly including penises.
Pacu defenders say the New Guinea nightmare tales are uncorroborated crocks, but we wonder if any of them would be willing to wade-fish naked there.
The Texas pacu is currently residing in a San Angelo bait-shop fish-tank, awaiting its final fate.
Introducing an exotic fish to a Texas waterway is a class C misdemeanor on a first offense, with enhanced penalties coming to repeat offenders.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.