Two piranhas have been pulled by fishermen from the Willamette River near Portland, Ore., but biologists say the public has nothing to fear from the flesh-eating fish.
A 9-inch piranha was caught near the Fremont Bridge last weekend, and a 10-inch piranha was pulled in just downstream. Harry Wagner, state director of fisheries, said he believes the fish were dumped into the river from someone's aquarium."It is unfortunate," he said. "It is not a good way to dispose of your pets."
Jay Massey, district fish biologist for the state, said both fish were red-bellied piranhas of the type found in some South American rivers.
The fish had large, sharp teeth capable of tearing flesh, but Massey said they need warmer water to survive for long and they pose little danger to people.
"They have to be concentrated in large numbers or be cornered," he said. "They are naturally afraid of people."