Our plans come to fruition….
A giant piranha has been found in a British river today, nearly 7,000 away from its native home in the Amazon River.
Environment Agency fisheries workers found the dead killer fish in the East Okement tributary of the River Torridge in Devon while conducting a survey of fish species using electric fishing equipment.
The piranha is one of the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world and forms a deadly shoal to hunt its prey.
The Red Bellied Piranha found at East Okement was about 14 inches long, bigger than the species average of up to eight inches.
A examination of the fish revealed its stomach was full of sweetcorn, suggesting it might have been kept as a domestic pet.
The Environment Agency said the piranha was most likely to have been placed in the river once the fish became too large for its tank and died because it could not tolerate the low temperature of the water.
A picture of the Devon river at the the spot close to where the ferocious fish was discovered. It normally resides in the Amazon River basin
Eddie Stevens was one of the three-man monitoring team who found the piranha.
He said: ‘What we actually came across was something which we would not expect to find in our wildest dreams - we could hardly believe our eyes.
‘After completing 20 metres of the survey a large tail emerged from the undercut bank on the far side of the river.
‘Our first thought was that a sea trout had become lodged in amongst the rocks and debris collected under the bank.
‘But when it was removed from the river we were speechless to find it was a piranha.’
Although piranhas would not survive in UK rivers, the Environment Agency has warned that the introduction of non-native species poses a serious threat to native wildlife.
Mark Diamond, ecology manager at the Environment Agency, said: ‘Whilst piranhas can’t survive the colder climates of the UK, this latest find highlights a real issue - that releasing unwanted exotic pets or plants into rivers can have serious consequences for native wildlife.
‘Rather than dumping things in the wild, we would urge people to seek advice about what to do with exotic species.’