By: Mary Beth McAndrews
This story sounds like something out of an episode of River Monsters. Cathy Blanc was fishing off a local dock in Sacramento County and got a bite on her line, like any other fishing trip. She reeled in her catch and instead of a blue gill or a catfish, she got something completely unexpected: not one, but two fish with human-like teeth. While Blanc initially thought these fish were piranhas, they have been confirmed as pacu by wildlife officials.
Pacu are relatives of the piranha and are normally found in the warm waters of South America. So how did they end up all the way in California, near Sacramento County? Pacu are sold in a local pet store, as confirmed by KCRA. Mitchell Thompson, one of the store's employees, said that people do buy the species for their personal aquariums. However, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, it is illegal to own a pacu without a research permit.