Saturday, October 29, 2016

"There are several species of these greedy piranhas" HH Smith #QotD

While touring outside of Manaus, we were taking piranha fishing (catch and release)

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There are several species of these greedy piranhas; this kind is seldom more than ten inches long; but the piranha assu is twice as large, and it makes nothing of biting an ounce or so of flesh from a bather's leg. People are some times killed by the piranhas; hence the Brazilians avoid swimming except where they know that the water is free from them. The fishermen say that piranhas gather in bands against the larger fish; crowding to the attack, they frequently bite each other by mistake ; and the wounded ones are mercilessly set upon and devoured by their companions. Another dangerous fish of these lakes is the stingray, which Hes flat on the bottom, the dark upper surface hardly visible over the mud and roily water. If left undisturbed, the creature is harmless enough, but a careless wader may step on the flat body, and then the great, barbed sting inflicts a wound that benumbs the whole body, and makes the sufferer speechless with pain. I have known a man to be bed-ridden for three months after such a wound; I have known others who were lamed for life. pp. 284-85

From: Brazil, the Amazons and the coast  (1879) by Herbert Huntington Smith (1851-1919)

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We saw men frequently bathing unmolested; but there are places where this is never safe, and in any place if a school of the fish appear swimmers are in danger; and a wounded man or beast is in deadly peril if piranhas are in the neighborhood. Ordinarily it appears that an unwounded man is attacked only by accident. Such accidents are rare; but they happen with sufficient frequency to justify much caution in entering water where piranhas abound. p.86

From: Through the Brazilian wilderness  (1914) by Theodore Roosevelt

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