In honor of Halloween Week, Micah Rumsey decided to make Wild Encounters a little extra spooky. He put the scary myths about piranhas to the test by jumping into their tank and speaking with Aquarium Curator Jennifer Rawlings. Let’s see if he survived.
Welcome into another edition of Wild Encounters and while you’re probably watching this during the month of November, we’re filming here on Halloween and what a better spooky animal to go with on Halloween than the piranha? And yes, I am currently standing in the piranha tank. I’ve been swimming around with it and maybe not as spooky of an animal as you might think. I’m here with Jennifer who is the Aquarium Curator, and Jennifer, tell us a little bit about these piranhas and why they might not be so scary after all.
Yeah, they actually have a really bad rap that they don’t deserve. So, these guys are found in Amazonian rivers. They’re freshwater fish and they actually eat…scavenge. They go after things that have already been deceased so they don’t typically go after animals in packs and destroy, you know, live cows and things like that that you’d think of.
And clearly, if they did just go after things and ravagely eat them like they do in the movies, I wouldn’t be here, at least from the chest down. I probably wouldn’t be here anymore. So in the Amazon, they’re going up and down the Amazon River, their habitat.
Yes, and the Amazon has natural cycles that it goes through, wet and dry season. So when it’s the dry season and they have less water than normal, they do have to go looking for food and that’s actually where the myth comes from in that sometimes they will swim in large groups and go after food in that way. So that’s where it comes from.
Now I’m taking extra precautions not sticking my finger out toward them. So as we finish off this season, this spooky season, reminder that piranhas not so scary.
That’s right. They’re actually really neat animals and I love that we have them here at Riverbanks and guests can come and see them any day of the year.
Right, and so you might not be able to come in and jump in here like I do with my special privileges here on Wild Encounters but you can come out here and look in the tank, check out these cool piranhas close up. And fortunately, I haven’t become a meal. We’ll see you next time on Wild Encounters.