Piranhas get turkey as festive gift
Published 09/12/2010 | 11:46
A shoal of piranhas are getting a festive gift in the shape of turkey dinners in the run-up to Christmas Day.
Aquarists at Bristol's Blue Reef Aquarium are treating their 30-plus shoal of red-bellied piranhas to "traditional" Christmas dinners over the festive holidays.
Despite their reputation as ferocious killers, piranhas are usually relatively timid fish, although feeding frenzies have been reported when large numbers come together.
Blue Reef curator Dan de Castro said: "When I used to work in Madrid we often fed our piranhas chicken so I thought that - with Christmas so close - it would be nice to give the fish something a little special with a festive flavour.
"It won't be roasted and we're certainly not planning on including all the traditional Christmas trimmings but it will definitely be a little treat for them and it will be interesting to see how popular it will be."
In addition to the turkey, aquarists are also planning a less meaty treat for the piranhas close relative - the pacu - which is entirely vegetarian.
"The piranhas' reputation as vicious man-eaters has definitely been exaggerated but you still have to be careful at feeding times," said Mr de Castro.
"Those teeth and powerful jaws are easily strong enough to sever human fingers.
"They're magnificent looking fish and very impressive when you see them together in such a large shoal."
Found throughout the Amazon, the piranha is among the most famous and most feared inhabitants of the mighty river.