Tooth and Claw: Piranhas

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Adam Hart investigates a frenzied and voracious fish from South America – the piranha! Said to be able to strip their prey to the bone in mere minutes, there are plenty of gruesome tales about the bubbling bloodbaths that occur when shoals of these hardy fish feed in the freshwaters across South America - from up in Venezuela in the Orinoco River, to the Amazon and down to the Paraná River in Argentina. What role did former United States President Theodore Roosevelt have in creating the piranha’s fearsome reputation? And is this reputation misguided? Adam hears what piranhas are really like, both in the wild and in captivity. He learns about how these fish hunt, the impact that humans are having on them and tries to establish if they really are as bloodthirsty as we’ve been led to believe. Contributors: Marcelo Ândrade is a professor at the Federal University of Maranhão in Brazil. He researches the environments that piranha live in and their behaviour, as well as plastic ingestion by piranhas. Hannah Thomas is the aquarium team manager at Chester Zoo in the UK where they care for 40 red-bellied piranhas. Presenter: Professor Adam Hart
Producer: Jonathan Blackwell
Editor: Holly Squire
Production Coordinator: Jonathan Harris
Studio Manager: Neva Missirian (Photo: Red-Bellied Piranha, Credit: Ed Reschke via Getty Images)
4 Dec 2023 English United Kingdom Science

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