Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the lake...


What you are looking at above is called a Pacu, which is a cousin of the Piranha. A fish similar to the one pictured above was caught by a North Jersey man who was fishing in Passaic's Third Ward Veteran's Memorial Park.

After Tom Boylan snagged the odd fish, he brought it to a local fish store in Clifton to have it identified. The fish store identified it as a Pacu, a tamer cousin of the Piranha. The Pacu is known to grow to up to four-feet in length.

Unlike the piranha, which has been known to attack humans, the pacu uses its rounded teeth to munch on vegetation and nuts that fall from trees into the water. Yet the Pacu’s close relation to the piranha, and its enjoyment of nuts, have recently given the fish a bad rap on the Internet.

If you were wondering where the pacu got the "testicle-crunching" monicker from, a recent scientific study told male swimmers that they should keep their shorts tied if swimming in waters where Pacu are spotted because sometimes Pacu mistake testicles for tree nuts.  While it was a recommendation by the scientists, it was also said in half-joking manner.

Here is another photo of what a Pacu looks like up close.


What odd animals have you come across in NJ? Let's hear your stories below.