Stunned fishermen have found two deadly pirhanas in a Yorkshire lake, where a number of ducks have vanished.
The carnivorous fish with rows of sharp teeth (which normally stalk the waters of the Amazon) were both discovered in the water in Doncaster.
Locals at the beauty spot say they have noticed a reduced number of ducks and fish at the lake – and think the flesh-eating fish could be responsible.
Residents found the carnivorous creatures at Martinwells Lake in Edlington, South Yorkshire and have taken photos and video.
Concerned about wildlife
Toni Hooper, 32, from Doncaster, saw the fish when out walking with her family on Sunday.
She said, “When we realised what it was it sent shivers down my spine.
“This is a popular spot amongst families, dog walkers and fishermen. It’s always busy here.
“There’s a play park nearby, so you get kids here paddling in the water, teenagers will go swimming here. You wouldn’t catch me going in the water.
“We came here to feed the ducks and on Sunday we noticed there was only one duck and two ducklings, I’m concerned about where the wildlife is.
“I’ve spoken to others who have said they’ve noticed there aren’t as many ducks.”
Her partner, Gary Walker, 34, often fishes at the site and has noticed fish hauls have reduced.
‘Not the kind of thing you expect to find in Doncaster’
The former clay pit is now home to a lake which is usually well-stocked with carp, tench, bream, perch, roach, pike and chubb along with usual pond life of newts, frogs and toads.
Ducks, coots and water hens all live on the pond which is visited each year by swans to raise their young. Even a group of geese had taken up residence there.
Another walker, Lisa Holmes, 37, who was there with partner Davey White, 37, and their youngest child, Sonny, eight, were shocked to find the razor-toothed fish.
Carer Lisa, from Doncaster, said, “My partner is a fisherman and was looking around the edge of the lake when he suddenly spotted this fish floating near one of the pegs [fishing platform].
“He managed to get it out of the water and although he’s a keen angler, he wasn’t sure what type of fish it was straight away.
“But then we started looking at it more closely and saw the teeth we realised it was a piranha.
“We went home and Googled it and its quite clear its a piranha. It was quite a shock.
“We couldn’t believe that we’d found a piranha fish. It’s not the kind of thing you expect to find in Doncaster.
“We presume that it was a pet that someone no longer wanted and they have gone and dumped it in the lake.”
Children attacked more often than adults
More at home in the scorching climes of South America, these deadly man-eaters are certainly a fish out of water.
Helen Thompson, writing in the Smithsonian Magazine, said, “Piranhas attract a certain type of pet lover, and sometimes when the fish gets too large for its aquarium said pet lover decides its much better off in the local lake.
“In this manner, piranhas have shown up in waterways around the globe from Great Britain to China to Texas.
”Obviously it’s never a good idea to release them into the wild, as the species could become invasive.”
Known for their sharp teeth and powerful jaws, piranhas are known to have killed humans – although attacks on people are rare.
Attacks normally take place when the fish are stressed – such as when water levels are lower during the dry season and food is scarce.
Splashing can attract piranhas and for this reason, children are more often attacked than adults.
Most piranha attacks on humans only result in minor injuries, typically to the feet or hands, but they are occasionally more serious and can be fatal.
The Doncaster sightings have been reported to the Environment Agency. Environment Agency have been approached for a comment.