Freshwater lakes and rivers in South America
Size: ~1 ft.
Weight: Up to 4 lbs.
Lifespan: 10+ years
Fish, crustaceans, insects, algae, aquatic invertebrates and plants
Piranha are known for their razor-sharp teeth and relentless bite. The word piranha translates to “tooth fish” in the Brazilian language Tupí. Many imagine the piranha as a ferocious predator with its sharp teeth and pack-hunting behavior. However, attacks on humans are extremely rare, and there are no documented reports of a human being killed in a piranha attack. Piranha can eat up to one-eighth of its body mass daily, feeding on insects, fish, crustaceans, worms, dead animals, seeds, and other plant material. It is primarily a scavenger, keeping the river clean by eating injured or dead animals. As their name suggests, red-bellied piranha have a reddish tinge to the belly when fully grown, although juveniles are silver with darker spots.