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Piranha Attack Leaves 8 Tourists Injured at Beach Resort



In a Nutshell:

  • Eight tourists at a beach resort in Tarumã-Açu, Brazil, experienced a surprising disruption to their vacation when they were attacked by a shoal of piranhas, resulting in minor injuries.
  • Piranhas, known for their sharp teeth and powerful bite force, don’t usually target humans as prey; these attacks often occur due to mistaken identity or the fish becoming accustomed to free food.
  • Individuals who suffer piranha bites are advised to leave the water immediately, compress the wound with a clean cloth to prevent bleeding, and promptly seek professional medical assistance to avoid infection.

It wasn’t the standard sunburn or misplaced passport that eight tourists at a Brazilian beach resort had to contend with on May 1, but something much more fishy.

A shoal of piranhas unleashed their notorious bite on unsuspecting bathers in Tarumã-Açu, near the city of Menaus, causing quite the vacation interruption.

Adaiany Monteiro, a university student and one of the victims, initially mistook her bite for an electric eel shock.

“When I left [the water], I saw that some people were talking about piranhas and bites. I noticed my foot and saw the bite mark,” she shared with local news portal g1.

Piranhas, those infamous freshwater fish that call South America’s rivers and floodplains home, come in a variety of species.

The largest and most formidable among them is the red-bellied piranha, known for its vicious hunting tactics and teeth that are as sharp as a sushi chef’s knife. They’re omnivorous, their diet a mix of plant matter and other aquatic creatures.

And yes, these fish can pack a punch, or rather, a bite. A 2012 study published in Scientific Reports recorded a black piranha’s bite force as 72 pounds, three times its own body weight.

However, piranhas aren’t quite the flesh-ripping monsters Hollywood movies would have us believe. Although they do occasionally attack humans, these incidents usually result in minor injuries, and piranhas don’t deliberately target humans as prey.


“The situation described is one of piranhas becoming acclimated to free food and those bites were just another example of mistaken identity, just like shark attacks,” explained Steve Huskey, a professor of biology at Western Kentucky University.

Piranha attacks aren’t uncommon. In the first half of 2007, 190 single-bite attacks were reported in an artificial lake near the city of Palmas in Brazil.

Occasionally, however, the outcomes have been deadly, as with an 18-year-old in Bolivia in 2011 and a six-year-old girl in Brazil in 2015.

The victims of the May 1 attack thankfully sustained only minor injuries. Advice for anyone with piranha-inflicted wounds is to leave the water immediately and seek medical attention.

Romes Proença, a doctor from the Mobile Emergency Care Service, warned against using household products like detergent or toothpaste on the wound.

Instead, he recommended compressing the area with a clean cloth to stem bleeding and seeking professional help promptly to prevent infection.

So, for those planning a dip in Brazilian waters, remember that sunblock isn’t the only protection you might need.

Be vigilant, because as these tourists learned, piranhas don’t care about vacation vibes.



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