Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
|20cm - 50cm (7.8in - 20in)|
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
|Optimum pH Level:|
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal
|6 - 8|
How long the animal lives for
|20 - 25 years|
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Grey, Yellow, Blue, Red|
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Fast flowing rivers and Amazon basin|
|Average Clutch Size:|
The average number of eggs laid at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Fish, Insects, Snails. Plants|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Botos, Crocodiles, Turtles|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Rounded head and a single row and triangular teeth|
Map of South America
The piranha is a type of freshwater fish found in the rivers of the South American jungles. The piranha can be found in nearly every country in South America and the piranha have been appearing more recently in the south of the USA.
The piranha fish has a single row of razor-sharp teeth with the piranha being most commonly known for their taste for blood. The piranha feeds on fish, mammals and birds alike, with the wholes group of piranhas feeding together in a slight frenzy.
Despite the carnivorous nature of the piranha, the piranha is actually an omnivore and will eat almost anything that it can find. Piranhas mainly feed on fish, snails, insects and aquatic plants occasionally eating larger mammals and birds that fall into the water.
Despite it's feared nature, the piranha actually has a number of predators in the wild, including humans that hunt the piranha for food. Piranhas are preyed upon by large predators such as river dolphins (known as botos), crocodiles, turtles, birds and larger fish.
The piranha is generally around 30cm long but some piranha individuals have been found measuring nearly 80cm. The piranha is said to be more feared by many humans than even a shark.
Piranhas are generally found in fast flowing rivers and streams where there is plenty of food for the piranha to eat. The piranhas live together in large shoals and constantly compete for food. Feeding frenzies will be triggered when there is a shortage of food or blood in the water.
Piranhas tend to breed in pairs in slower water such as lagoons generally during the rainy season around April to May. The mating pair prepare a nest that the female piranha lays clusters of eggs in. The female piranha lays an average of 5,000 eggs and due to the fact that the male piranha and the female piranha defend their protected eggs so effectively, more than 90% often survive and hatch after just a few days.
In August 2009 a 35cm piranha was found in a river in Devon, thousands of miles from its native home. The team that discovered the piranha were utterly bewildered as to what this tropical fish was going in a river in England but later deduced that this piranha must have been kept as a pet and then released due to the fact that it was eating sweetcorn.
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First Published: 10th November 2008, Last Updated: 7th November 2019
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]