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Invasive, Terrifying Pacu Fish Found Its Way to California

Nisamanee Wanmoon /Wikimedia

It’s been caught in New Jersey, Michigan, Washington and Illinois, and other places it shouldn’t be. And now an invasive species has made its way to California.

A pacu, which is known for its human-like teeth, was caught in a California pond over the Memorial Day Weekend.

“It landed on the dirt and you could tell it wasn’t anything we had seen before,” says Juan Gallo of Petaluma, Calif., who reeled in the fish. Pacu are native to the Amazon River basin in South America. The invasive species is getting into waters in the United States because of uninformed aquarium owners.

As juveniles, pacu are popular, but the fish can reach up to a foot long, outgrowing most home aquariums.

What’s up with the teeth? Pacu use them to grind down their food. The species is omnivorous, but usually in the Amazon, they are vegetarians.

Since pacu are an invasive species, anglers are encouraged to not throw them back.

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Invasive, Terrifying Pacu Fish Found Its Way to California