Men in Sweden have been warned to be careful after a 21-cm wild pacu was caught this month by amateur fisherman Einar Lindgreen in the Öresund channel that separates Sweden from Denmark
Experts have advised men to make sure they keep their private areas covered if they are swimming in the channel after the fisherman came across a pacu fish, nicknamed the ‘ball cutter’, because of its tendency to attack male genitalia.
The Danish National History Museum has also warned that there is a possibility more of the fearsome, sharp-toothed fish could be swimming in the waters between the Scandinavian countries.
The pacu, closely related to the piranha, can reach up to 90cm in length and weigh as much as 25kg. South American fisherman who have been attacked by the creature are said to have bled to death after the fish gobbled up their testicles.
According to the Danish museum, the pacu has never been caught in Europe before. Fish expert at the museum Henrik Carl said that the pacu is not renowned for being a danger to people but, due to its vicious bite, there have been some incidents in the past in other countries, including Papua New Guinea, where men have lost their testicles.
Carl went on to explain that they bite because they need food, and testicles are the perfect size for their mouth. However, he told swimmers they shouldn’t worry too much as there’s more chance of drowning than having their testicles bitten off.
The fish are commonly found in rivers around the Amazon and Orinoco in South America as well as in Papua New Guinea in the Pacific, where they were introduced to boost fish stocks.