Piranhas attack tourists at Brazilian resort

A school of piranhas swarmed tourists wading in a stream in Tarumã-Açu, Brazil, on May 1, injuring at least eight people with bloody bites on their legs and feet. Link to the the article in Live Science here.

Experts believe the attack may have been the result of the fish becoming acclimated to being fed by visitors who often throw food into the river, and is very unusual behavior. If a piranha mistook a foot for food and bit it with its razor sharp teeth, it could have drawn blood, which would have sparked the feeding frenzy.

""Piranhas do not exhibit unprovoked attacks on humans," Steve Huskey, a professor of biology at Western Kentucky University, told Live Science in an email. "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."

"But this behavior only occurs in exceptional circumstances, such as when a high number of fish are trapped in small pools or starved for a long time, according to the Sea Life London Aquarium. "These fish swim in schools and normally do not attack large animals," [ichthyologist and professor at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil Paulo Andreas] Buckup said."

When I was a kid, I was led to believe that piranhas were the most dangerous animals in the world, able to devour a cow in seconds. And if you were to find yourself in the water with a school of piranhas, it meant a certain quick and gruesome death.

Like what happened in James Bond movies.