This has all happened before, and it will happen again: a New Jersey father and son were throughly freaked out after they found a fish with teeth in South Jersey this weekend. It turns out this was the same variety of "testicle-devouring" fish that was found swimming just 15 miles outside of NYC two years ago.
Ron Rossi caught the pacu, a fish with teeth that is native to South America, Sunday at Swedes Lake during a fishing excursion with his family. "I've never seen anything like that before in the lake. It was different," Rossi's son Frank told ABC.
Officials believe that the rare Amazonian fish, which has the nickname of "Nutcracker," was likely in someone’s exotic aquarium before being dumped in the lake. A spokesperson from the DEP said in a statement, "Many times, these fish are deposited into lakes by pet owners. These fish do not survive in colder water, so we encourage people not to release it into the wild but to humanely destroy the fish."
The pacu made headlines in 2011—and gained its reputation for testicle-chomping— when one was blamed for the death of two New Guinea men who allegedly died from bloodloss after the fish bit their testicles. Then in 2012, they allegedly attacked swimmers' coin purses in coastal waters between Sweden and Denmark. "They bite because they're hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth," Henrik Carl, a fish expert at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, told The Local at the time. (The fish were also found in Chicago that same year.)
Experts later clarified that their comments about the giggle berry biting was "half a joke," since it's highly unlikely there are more of these fish in local lakes: "We did say that we recommend men to keep their swimsuits tied up until we know if there are more pacus out there in our waters," Moller told CNN, referring to the a tongue-in-cheek Scandinavian warning. "Of course, this is half a joke since it is very unlikely that you would actually meet one here and that it would bite you. It's up to people themselves how careful they want to be. I'll keep my shorts on, though."
But their lingering concern is that more Pacu remain in Swedes Lake.
Their concern stems from the fact that, while rare, there have been reports of Pacu attacking people.
"A lot of residents swim and then there's the marathon people that swim the length of this lake just about every day," said Ron.
If you're really concerned about pacus, you could always invest in chastity belts.