Cleveland | Six students from Cleveland State University have been arrested by the US Coast Guard after introducing a dozen piranhas in Lake Erie in an attempt to help spread the species as a “prank”.
The six biology students, who had planned the whole affair for months after breeding illegally specimens of the piranhas legally owned by the university in the home of one of the suspects, were arrested this afternoon after one of the students was conscience-stricken and warned local authorities of the plot.
Although six specimens of red-bellied piranhas, or Pygocentrus nattereri, a native of the Amazon basin, were seized by police officers before they were freed in Lake Erie, a dozen piranhas have been set free warns local deputy sheriff Adam Brooks.
The professor of Biology at the University of Cleveland was clearly alarmed at the news.
“This is highly irresponsible of them to be introducing a potentially deadly species next to such a huge population center,” he told local reporters.
“This species of piranhas spawns hundreds of eggs every two or three months. Since we are at the beginning of spring, a dozen piranhas could turn out to be thousands of piranhas in only a very short time” he admitted, visibly concerned.
“There is no way of tracking these fish or stopping them from spreading until winter comes and water temperatures lower enough for the species to be unable to live in such conditions” he explained nervously.
Local authorities are asking citizens of the area with injuries to avoid the beaches as piranhas have a keen sense of smell