Piranha surfaces in Bowie Flesh-eater caught in pond


An 8-year-old Prince George's County boy's fish story has state Department of Natural Resources officials buzzing.

Testing out his new fishing rod at the Allen Pond Park in Bowie Saturday, Michael McManus landed an 11-inch piranha, a flesh-eating fish native to South America.

Since Saturday, DNR officials have received five other reports of piranha in the five-acre pond, including one much larger than Michael's, said DNR spokesman John Verrico.

Michael's piranha, which is being kept on ice in a cooler by his family, is the only one that has been confirmed.

DNR officials will attempt this morning to determine if any other piranha are living in the pond, Mr. Verrico said.

MA They will use a specially designed boat that will send a mild

shock through the water, causing stunned fish to float to the surface where they can be examined.

The shock will not harm the fish, he said.

How did the piranha enter the pond?

"Somebody had them in their aquarium and decided they didn't want them anymore," Mr. Verrico said. "Somebody dumped them. That's the only way they could get there."

Swimming is not allowed in the pond, located off Mitchellville Road. But Mr. Verrico said the piranha probably posed no human danger anyway.

"The old image of the water boiling with piranhas, spitting out bones, is a Hollywood thing," Mr. Verrico said.

"It would have to be a really large school of piranha that was really, really hungry to prey on a human. Of course, that doesn't mean I'd go skinny dipping in there tonight," he said.

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