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On WEAR TV tonight...

PERDIDO - South Florida has long been a dumping ground for tropical exotic species like iguanas and snakes.

Now our corner of the Gulf Coast is being used the same way.

Channel Three's Kathryn Daniel tracks down the latest thrown away pet found in the Perdido River.

Veteran Angler Frankie Moore has been fishing local waters for more than five decades.

Frankie Moore/Fisherman; "I never seen anything like that, I fished in salt water and fished in fresh water."

Last week Moore hooked this critter.

Frankie Moore; "He was wild, didn't want to be caught and after I got him in the boat, he really cut up."

After the fish stopped fighting and flopping -- Moore noticed the thing had a mouthful of big teeth.

Frankie Moore; "I needed to find somebody who knew what I had."

That would be Lt. Brian Lambert of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission.

He sizes up the toothy fish and says it is a Pacu.

Lt. Brian Lambert/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; "Aquarium type fish, native from South America, relative to the Piranha family."

Lambert says it's not quite as pugnacious as a pure Piranha but it is still an aggressive, flesh eating fish.

He had another report two weeks ago about a similar fish being caught in a local retention pond.

Lambert says the Pacu can get up to 30 or 40 pounds and when they get too big for aquariums, some folks dump them in local waterways.

Lt. Brian Lambert; "End up competing with the native wildlife and take away food sources that a normal fish has, and it's also a misdemeanor."

Dumping non native species is a criminal offense which carries a $500 fine and requires a court appearance.

But besides that, this fish is mean and can bite other fish and even humans. Lambert says the Pacu's teeth are very similar to it's Piranha cousins.

South Americans eat the Pacu. Moore says he'll pass on this particular dinner, but he does have one whale of a fish tale to tell.<SPAN style="DISPLAY: none">Exotic Fish Found in Perdido River

<SPAN style="DISPLAY: none">? WEAR 3 NEWS TOP STORIES VIDEO

<SPAN style="DISPLAY: none">Jimmy
 

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UnderWater Angler (10/14/2009)30 or 40 lbs!! :hungry
That's what I'm talking bout!!! I'd love to fight a 30-40 lb Pacu....Them little suckers look like all muscle!!!:letsdrink
 

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Sad thing is, I wouldn't really call 'em "exotic". They sell them in Walmart!!! Aquariums full of those cute little buggers, all about the size of a silver dollar (sell for a coupla bucks apiece). What they don't tell you is that they grow as big as they do, and pretty darn fast!! Believe me, we learned the hard way!! Micha wanted a fish for his little aquarium (after the turtles had outgrown it and gone to live at Granny's farm), so he talked us into getting him a Pacu. Pacu couldn't have roommates, 'cause he ate 'em all. Kept him until he was about the size of a saucer, and Micha started looking for a new home for him. Had a few suggestions from friends (one being to take him to King Buffet for their "pond", but Micha was afraid he'd end up on the buffet!). He and his dad went and talkedto the nice folks ata local pet store, andtheysaid they would put him in their "Pacu Pond" and take care of him until someone came along that wanted to give him a home (they DID have a large goldfish type pond where they kept larger fish), so Pacu went to his new home. HHHHHMMMMMM, kinda makes me wonder about that "Pacu Pond" now...............:doh
 

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Pacu are really herbivorous.Compare their teeth to that of a piranha. They are actually a sweet tasting fish and prized as food in northern Brazil. I've eaten them while in Amazonia. The ones I saw were bass sized.

Pacu Pond.

 
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