RIO DE JANEIRO – At least 20 people suffered slight injuries on their toes and fingers when they were attacked by a school of “palometas,” a species of carnivorous fish native to South America’s Southern Cone, as they were bathing in a river in southern Brazil, authorities reported Monday.
The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon at two different spots on the Toropi River, which runs through the central part of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.
After recommending to the approximately 1,000 bathers gathered at the Passo do Juliao and Passo do Angico swimming spots that they get out of the water, authorities allowed people to swim again on Monday but they strengthened the presence of lifeguards to be alert for any new attack.
The victims, most of whom suffered small bites on their fingers and toes, although some were bitten on the ears, were attended to by paramedics.
Authorities attributed the attack to the low level of the river water due to a drought and the scarcity of food for the fish.
Despite the fact that the palometa is a carnivorous fish of the piranha family, it does not normally attack humans. EFE