-- This fish has a great smile.
Ron and Frank Rossi caught the non-native Pacu at Swedes Lake in New Jersey on Sunday, ABC affiliate WPVI reported.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before in the lake. It was different,” Frank Rossi told WPVI.
The father-son duo thought it was a piranha until they opened up its mouth and saw its human-like teeth. The Rossi’s discovered it was a South American Pacu after looking it up online.
“People confuse them as piranhas a lot, but they have teeth made for grinding instead. They’ll eat nuts that drop in the water in the rain forest, hence the urban legend that they eat a certain part of the male anatomy,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Lawrence Hajna told ABC News today.
“Just to clarify, they don’t eat the male anatomy,” he added.
The Pacu are omnivores, but it’s still rare to find one in New Jersey.
Hanja guessed that the fish outgrew its aquarium, so its owner decided to release it into the lake, hoping to give it a roomier home. Unfortunately, Hanja said, the fish won’t survive in the cold lake come wintertime.
“It’s unusual, but we get a couple reports every year,” he said. “The best thing to do is humanely dispose of the fish instead of dumping it in a lake.”
Ron and Frank Rossi did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.