The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has verified that a single Red Piranha was caught earlier this week in University Lakes in Baton Rouge.
Red Piranha, also known as Red-bellied Piranha, are native to South America and found in the Amazon Basin. While their reputation in popular culture labels them as a vicious predator, piranhas are more likely to scavenge for dead or dying prey, including fish or crustaceans.
The department advises the public to use caution if they encounter a Red Piranha. LDWF believes this was a pet that was released into University Lakes. LDWF is investigating if there are more piranha in the University Lake system.
All piranha species are illegal to possess or sell in Louisiana.
If you have information, or if you think you caught a piranha, please do not return it to the water. Please contact Rob Bourgeois, LDWF Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org , 225-765-0765 or the LDWF aquatic invasive species hotline at 225-765-3977 email at AquaticInvasives@la.gov.