• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedish men warned of crotch-chomping fish

The Local · 9 Aug 2013, 16:00

Published: 09 Aug 2013 16:00 GMT+02:00

Ever since a fisherman reeled in a 21 centimetre pacu in the Øresund Sound off southern Sweden, experts have been on alert. The fish species, a relative of the notorious piranha, caused museum staff in nearby Denmark to put out a warning.

"Keep your swimwear on if you're bathing in the Sound these days - maybe there are more out there!" the Natural History Museum of Denmark wrote.

The fish species is more usually found in warmer climes, and has a reputation as something of a ball breaker among male swimmers, an expert confirmed for The Local.

"The pacu is not normally dangerous to people but it has quite a serious bite, there have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea where some men have had their testicles bitten off," said Henrik Carl, fish expert at the Danish museum.

While Carl said the museum's warning about the pacu, sometimes known as the "ball cutter", was meant "as a bit of fun", human victims of the pacu are rarely laughing.

"They bite because they're hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth," he explained.

SEE ALSO: Think the pacu is bad? Check out Sweden's ten most dangerous animals

"And its mouth is not so big, so of course it normally eats nuts, fruit, and small fish, but human testicles are just a natural target. It's not normal to get your testicles bitten off, of course, but it can happen, especially now in Sweden."

Pacus have reportedly killed fishermen who have bled to death after losing their testicles.

While Carl admitted that he was unsure if there were any more pacu in the Swedish waters, the team at the museum is looking into the fish's DNA to confirm whether it is indeed a pacu. The fish, he explained, looks exactly the same as a piranha and is even a member of the same sub-family.

"They are almost identical to the piranha, you couldn't even tell from the outside. It's just that they have different teeth. Flatter and stronger, perfect for crushing," he added.

While the Öresund pacu may not have caused any harm before it was caught, Carl said there is nothing to fear for other men planning to take a dip in the area.

"No, there's nothing to worry about... you're more likely to drown that get your nuts bitten off," he told The Local with a laugh.

Story continues below…

"However, it could become a problem some time in the future if it's not the only one. This one was the first, but who knows, it's probably not the last."

The pacu, native to South America, can grow up to 90 centimetres and weigh up to 25 kilogrammes.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish 'Dream' cookies for fika
Now not only in your dreams. Photo: Jurek Holzer/SvD/SCANPIX

Want to fika but think cinnamon buns are too complicated? Try this recipe for a simple but yummy Swedish cookie.

Fears new funding rules could hobble Swedish startups
Elin Olsson funded the development of her innovative smoke detector through crowdfunding. Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Crowdfunding is a risky business, but could Swedish plans to regulate it make it too hard for small companies to get investment?

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,390
jobs available