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24/06/2015 16:40 BST | Updated 25/06/2015 10:59 BST

Pacu, Testicle Eating 'Ball-Cutter' Fish Caught In South Jersey Lake

As far as father-and-son fishing trips go, this particular sojourn had the potential for a nasty bite.

For the pair netted an exotic Amazonian Pacu fish - in the distinctly untropical waters of Swedes Lake in South Jersey.

Despite displaying a set of strangely human-like gnashers, the Pacu is a close cousin of the scarily-fanged Piranha fish.

pacu testicle fish

This Pacu fish was caught in Swedes Lake, South Jersey on Sunday

The freshwater Pacu, which hails from the Amazon, can grow up to 90 cm in length and weigh up to 25 kg.

It primarily feeds on nuts, aquatic vegetation and snails, but has been known to mistake male testicles for tree nuts, lending it a reputation as a “ball-cutter”.

Ron Rossi told 6ABC: “We scoop this thing and brought it up. We didn’t know what kind of fish it was.”

His son Frank was left baffled too and the pair initially believed they had caught a Piranha – though an examination of its chompers and a comparison check online proved them wrong.

Rossi added: “We did pull the bottom lip down to see what they looked like and they have almost human teeth. It’s exactly what it looked like on the internet.”

Thankfully both father and son were merely fishing and not swimming naked and the specimen was not given an opportunity to live up to its fearsome reputation.

pacu fish

The pair initially thought they had caught a Piranha

That the freshwater fish, which hails from the Amazon was found in the lake, suggests it was a pet which had been recently released from a home aquarium.

In 2013 there was a furore when a 21cm Pacu was reeled in off the coast of Sweden.

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The find prompted a museum in neighbouring Denmark to issue the knee-crossing warning: "Keep your swimwear on if you're bathing in the Sound these days - maybe there are more out there!"

piranha fish

The Pacu is a relative of the Piranha (pictured)

"The Pacu is not normally dangerous to people but it has quite a serious bite, there have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea where some men have had their testicles bitten off," Henrik Carl, a fish expert at the Danish museum, told The Local.

He added: "They bite because they're hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth. And its mouth is not so big, so of course it normally eats nuts, fruit, and small fish, but human testicles are just a natural target. It's not normal to get your testicles bitten off, of course, but it can happen, especially now in Sweden."

In further incidents of Pacus turning up unexpectedly, in 2012 one was discovered in Lake Lou Yaeger in Illinois, KSDK reported.

In 2011 British fisherman Jeremy Wade travelled to Papa New Guinea to catch his own "ball-cutter" after hearing one had castrated two fishermen who had subsequently bled to death.

He told The Metro: "When I reeled it in, it had this mouth which was surprisingly human-like, it is almost like they have teeth specially made for crushing."

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