While the odds of encountering a shoal of piranhas are slim—and yes, a group of piranhas is called a shoal—it’s still good to know how to avoid them. To that end, here is a piranha-infested water survival guide created by YouTuber, RealLifeLore. And even though a lot of the advice seems like common sense, all of these piranha factoids would still be great for cocktail conversations.
RealLifeLore, who gives “answers to questions that you’ve never asked,” is known for his fact-filled videos, including this one about what Earth would look like after extreme global warming. This piranha-focused explainer is especially pragmatic, however, for anybody looking to cross a river in South America.
For those who need a refresher, piranhas make up a family of fresh water fish, and are infamous for their reputation as predators with razor-sharp teeth. When most people think of piranhas, they probably think of shoals swarming and ripping apart prey. That is, however, mostly a mischaracterization of Serrasalmidae, as piranhas are actually omnivores and have only killed humans on a few, rare occasions.
Despite the rarity of piranha attacks, RealLifeLore does note that they happen, and when they do, it is gruesome. The YouTuber points out, for example, that an 18-year-old man was devoured by a shoal of piranhas in Bolivia in 2018 when he drunkenly fell out of a boat. There’s also the below video from BBC Earth that showcases piranhas during a feeding frenzy. (The latter video isn’t related to RealLifeLore’s, but it’s still gnarly.)
In terms of actual advice pertaining to crossing piranha-infested waters, the fundamental takeaways are: make as little noise as possible, and make as little disturbance in the water as possible. I.e. swim straight, swim quietly, and don’t talk or splash. RealLifeLore also notes that people avoiding piranhas should band-aid up any cuts, avoid still waters when swimming across rivers, and make sure to swim at night because piranhas are nocturnal. You might as well try to put yourself in the most terrifying situation possible as long as you’re already in extreme danger, right?
What do you think about this video guide outlining the safest way to cross a piranha-infested body of water? Do you feel safer now, or just more terrified of going swimming in Bolivia? Let’s get a shoal of opinions going in the comments!
Feature image: RealLifeLore