Media Blog

Fact-Checking the HuffPo . . .

. . .on testicle-eating fish. For real.

The Huffington Post had this story the other day:

Pacu, Testicle-Eating Fish Species, Caught In Lake Lou Yaeger In Illinois

Um, no. National Geographic reports:

Pacu in America

This week, Huffington Post reported that a pacu was caught in Illinois, far north of its South American range.

The site reported, “Responding to a report that a fisherman had reeled in a piranha on June 7, lake superintendent Jim Caldwell brought the fish to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, where it was identified as a pacu. Some reports say another pacu was seen a couple of weeks later.”

Huffington Post points to a story in the British Metro that claims pacu are known as “ball cutters” in Papua New Guinea. The fish were introduced there in 1994 to restock rivers that had been fished out of local species, but they are now invasive.

Metro claims two men were castrated, and killed, by pacus in New Guinea, although their source heard it second hand. The paper also called the large fish a “predator,” though it isn’t. A search online didn’t turn up any verifiable media reports of such deaths, so this reporter suggests taking that claim with a grain of salt.

In the Pantanal, locals said pacu are harmless.

Myth busted!

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