There are in fact at least a dozen different species, belonging
to the characin group of fishes. Most eat fallen fruit not
as thrilling as stripping a carcass to the bone, but there
is no doubt they play an important part in the local ecology.
Most people think that if they visit the Amazon river in Brazil
and fall off a boat they will be eaten by schools of piranha
fish and this is a constant danger there. Far from it, piranhas
tend to hunt for food alone and not in schools and will not
bite people unless they are given the opportunity and they
are very hungry.
The most notorious type of piranha is the red piranha because
when we think of colorful fish , we don't usually think about
ones with razor sharp teeth. Their mouth is designed to chomp
off pieces of flesh in a single bite to be swallowed whole.
They have a single row of triangular teeth that fit together
resembling an animal trap. The teeth are razor sharp and before
the invention of scissors Indian tribes would use the jaws
of dead piranha to cut with.
teeth interlock with the other row which enhances
the strong grip a piranha has on their prey. When
piranhas lose teeth they lose a row rather than
a single tooth so the teeth will maintain the interlocking
ability. However they will only lose one side at
a time so they can still feed. Their sense of smell
is comprable to sharks and they need it to find
food in the murky waters of the Amazon River. Their
hearing also allows them to sense when an animal
is injured so they can get to it and eat it. It
is also believed that piranha eyes are better than
that of humans and that they can see a wider range