Be afraid, very afraid…
Warning: Squeamish spoiler alert
What’s the most terrifying creature you can find in the waters of the world? Great White Shark, Crocodile, Piranha or legendary giant squid ? All boast reputations which are probably largely undeserved thanks in part to urban myths , folk tales or popular culture pouring out film like ‘JAWS!’ In UK waters about the worst you can expect is a sting from stepping on a weever fish or from a jellyfish.
But for inhabitants of the Amazon basin, perhaps none is more terrifying than the Candiru. This tiny catfish (Vandella cirrhosa) measures a just few centimetres long but boasts a big-dog reputation.
There’s plenty of horror stories about this parasitic assassin using its sharp spines to ram itself up the urethra (ok, so that’s where your pee comes out of!) of unsuspecting swimmers, before dining out on their blood. Now fully engorged, the little catfish is not so little anymore, and damn near impossible to easily extract.
Some say the experience is so excruciatingly awful that male victims have been known to chop off their penis in order to be free from the pain. And ultimately, once the little fish arrives in its host’s bladder, inflammation and infection follow – potentially bringing death.
Other reports claim the fish is attracted by urine and even jumps or swims up the urine stream of its unsuspecting victim!
Fact or fiction
Forget ‘JAWS!’ Check this out by the BBC on YouTube:
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