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‘Piranhas found in lakes often,’ due to aquarium dumpers

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Posted at 4:52 PM, May 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-05 18:35:40-04

Bentonville, AR  — A piranha was caught in Lake Bentonville last week, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Lake Bentonville is on Southwest 1st Street near the Bentonville Municipal Airport.

A Bella vista woman posted pictures of the piranha on a public Facebook page Saturday evening (May 2). Her name is Dutch-Kathy Barnett, and she told affiliate KFSM that her friend Roger Headley caught the fish

Barnett told 5NEWS her friend mistook the fish for a large Perch, and it almost bit his finger when the hook was pulled out of the fish’s mouth.

Headley told 5NEWS he was shocked that he would find something like that in Lake Bentonville.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission brought a state biologist to the lake on Friday (May 1) to confirm the fish was a piranha, Barnett said.

Army Corps Engineer Alan Bland said they find piranhas in local lakes often. He said people will dump their aquariums when they are tired of taking care of the fish.

Bland also said piranhas are not dangerous to swimmers when they are found in the area due to cold water temperatures making them sluggish and nonaggressive. A piranha can only survive a few days in colder water before dying, according to Bland.

He said the last confirmed case of a piranha in Northwest Arkansas was found at Beaver Lake at the Hickory Creek Marina in 2014. It is illegal to dump piranhas in public lakes, according to Bland.

Normal fish found in the lake include Bluegill, Channel catfish, Crappie, Largemouth bass and more, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.