You may think sea water creatures are bizarre looking, but take a look at these freshwater animals and you might be surprised.
Well known for their razor-sharp teeth and huge appetites, piranhas occupy many of the main river basins in South America. These omnivorous fish are well-known for their taste for meat, although assaults on human beings are very rare, despite breathless accounts from early explorers.
Electric eels take air from the surface to be able to breathe. Because of specific internal organs, they can generate pulses of electricity higher than 500 volts, with a current greater than one amp. Which is enough to kill an adult human being.
Widely spread across most of Africa, tiger fish are brutal predators with large, razor sharp teeth. They frequently hunt in packs and sometimes feed on large animals. Attacks on human beings are rare but not unusual.
These voracious high-level predators may reach a size of three feet (one meter). They prey on invertebrates, frogs, and smaller fish, though they are known to attack anything moving when they are breeding.
The mata mata can develop quite huge, up to 33 pounds (15 kilograms). They feed on invertebrates and fish and aren’t dangerous to people, regardless of their look.
The greatest record is the Mekong giant catfish, which has reached recorded sizes up to 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) and 660 pounds (300 kilograms). Once distributed over several countries in Southeast Asia, the Mekong giant catfish is now critically endangered species, thanks to habitat disruption. Very little is known about the world’s biggest freshwater fish, although conservation efforts are underway.
Animal handlers carry a 19-foot anaconda at the Zoological Gardens. Among the world’s biggest freshwater animals, anacondas inhabit rivers and wetlands of South America. The term anaconda is thought to come from the Tamil word anaikolra, meaning elephant killer, alluding to the reptile’s fearsome reputation.
Giant Freshwater Stingray
Stingrays are known to live in rivers in Southeast Asia and northern Australia, where they can achieve massive proportions, measuring up to 16.5 feet (5 meters) long and up to 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms). Still hardly anything is known about these creatures, including how many are left, and if they ever enter sea water.
Fanged vampire fish, or payara (Hydrolycus scomberoides), are available at a market in Pevas, Peru, on the Amazon River. This fearsome, less-known fish is valued for its meat in the Amazon and Orinoco basins.
The scary teeth can grow up to six inches long.