- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

3:56 p.m.

A notoriously ferocious creature has been caught in a park pond in Dundalk, Md.

A 21-year-old Baltimore man on Sunday hooked and landed a 16-inch piranha normally known to reside — with its razor-sharp teeth — in the rivers of South America.

“We usually catch bigger fish than that one,” Mr. Murphy said after he made the unique catch. “We caught him, brought him up on the pier and thought it was a state record bluegill, but then we realized it didn’t belong in those waters.”

Piranhas are known for their razor-sharp teeth and their ability to skin a fish down to its bones. But the fish also can be a house pet.

Officials think the 3 1/2 pound red-bellied piranha was released by a local resident after the fish outgrew its aquarium. Mr. Murphy reeled it in from Stansbury Pond at dusk.

This isn’t the first piranha sighting in the area.

Marty Gary, a fisheries ecologist from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said that about a half dozen piranhas have been caught in the past decade.

“They’re not common, but not extremely rare,” Mr. Gary said. “This is a large one though. Most are fairly small compared to it. It was an adult probably close to reaching its maximum size.”

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