Fri. May 24th, 2024

Terrifying moment piranhas spotted in the streets after flooding from torrential downpours

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May16,2024

Residents were left terrified when piranhas were spotted in the streets following historic flooding in the region.

River levels have been on the rise in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul on the east coast following heavy rainfall, which are causing severe flooding. 

More than half a million people have been displaced and 147 are confirmed to have died in the floods. Rescue workers continue to search for people who are missing.

Parts of the area have seen more than 630 millimetres of rain this month so far, the national weather service INMET reported – more than London’s average rainfall a year.

The waters of Lake Guaiba, which breached its banks to flood state capital Porto Alegre, have risen again this week to 5.22 metres, well above the flood level of 3.0 metres and close to last week’s all-time record of 5.33 metres.

To add to the region’s concerns, red-bellied piranhas have now been spotted in the streets of Porto Alegre, as seen in the video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, by volcaholic1. 

They were found in Rua Cel. Bordini, in the Auxiliadora neighbourhood, over three miles from the waters of the Jacuí River, where the fish originate. 

An alligator was also spotted last week while residents were evacuated from the Menino Deus neighbourhood, also in Porto Alegre. This event started discussions on social media about whether it would be possible for an alligator to be present in the urban area. 

However, the presence of the piranha is not an uncommon phenomenon according to experts. More dead fish were also found in Caldas Júnior and Andradas and in other parts of the Historic Centre.

Experts have attributed their presence to the connection between the river basins of Uruguay, Jacuí, and Guaíba. 

Professor Fernando Becker, from the UFRGS Institute of Biosciences, highlights that the presence of these fish in the waters that flood the city’s streets is a result of the expansion of river basins in recent years.

The migration of the fish to other regions may occur due to drainage in crop irrigation channels, which end up connecting the different river basins. 

He reassured the population that while the piranhas bite, they do not pose a fatal risk. Similarly, biologist Uwe Horst Schultz, from Unisinos, mentioned that there have never been any recorded accidents with this species.

The presence of non-native areas is said to cause environmental imbalances and affect the local economy, including affecting fishermen in the municipality. 

There have, however, been piranha attacks elsewhere in Brazil. In March, a group of about 15 people were attacked while bathing in the Tietê River. Warning signs had been put up over the weekend telling people to stay away due to the presence of the fish. The people were said to have been taking part in illegal local fishing which attracted the piranhas, along with the presence of discarded food. 

Four people were taken to hospital with injuries including deep bites to the soles of their feet. The fish are known to have a bite force of about 30 times their own bodyweight according to local experts, meaning they have one of the strongest bites of all bony fish species. 

Last September a man died after being eaten following a boat crash on an Amazonian river. Joney Jose Silva da Luzon’s body was discovered on the Cuiabá River in Barão de Melgaço, Brazil.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Terrifying moment piranhas spotted in the streets after flooding from torrential downpours”
  1. How did piranhas end up in the streets after the flooding? Are they a common sight in that region during such events?

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