Piranhas: Cheat Sheet

Stuff you need to know:
  • Piranhas are pretty small considering their predatory abilities -- only about 8 to 24 inches long. And the most vicious ones are usually toward the smaller end of the range.
  • Piranhas only occasionally kill live prey. More often, they take small, non-fatal nibbles out of passing fish or devour food that's already dead.
  • Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was a wilderness adventurer!
  • Piranha feeding is an elegant example of teamwork. Each small fish takes a bite and then moves out of the way while it swallows (without chewing), making room for another fish to reach the prey and take a bite. They're constantly rotating positions, allowing for the incredible speed with which they can strip their prey and leading to that creepy "boiling" effect in the water while they eat.
  • A particularly large group of piranhas would certainly be capable of stripping a cow very quickly. But under a minute? It's unlikely.
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