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Brazilian Beachgoers Attacked By Piranhas

JOSE DE FREITAS, Brazil ~ (UOL Noticas/ Discovery Channel) ~ Like a scene out of a shocker movie, piranhas started munching on swimmers in Brazil.

About 100 beachgoers were treated at a local hospital for bites in their heels and toes after a swarm of piranhas created havoc in the shallow beach waters. Local environmental official Romildo Mafra told UOL Noticas newspaper the piranhas have started preying on humans because there is nothing to challenge their position in the food chain in the northeast Brazilian waters. According to the article, the problem has been going on for two months; so far, introducing 100,000 tilapia to the local food chain as an alternative meal is one solution being tested by environmentalists.

But Jeremy Wade, host of the show 'River Monsters' on Discovery Channel, has another line of reasoning on the problem. In the show's first season, they found that bathers were disturbing the piranhas during their nesting season. "These were defensive nips, and nothing to do with them not having enough other food, or not having any natural predators," said Wade, "the only way to avoid this is to keep out of these shallow waters at these times, but unfortunately during these months both humans and piranhas are drawn to the same water." Wade also added that, contrary to their popular opinion, it shows that piranhas can be devoted parents.

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