Don’t worry Scandinavian Dudes, the family jewels are safe

This story seemed to hit a sensitive spot with the media. Turns out, it was bogus.

Warning over testicle-biting fish in Denmark? It’s all wet –

A warning over the weekend for male swimmers off the coast of Denmark and Sweden to protect their private parts because of a testicle-munching fish appears to have been a joke that got out of hand.

After a Danish fisherman caught a South American pacu among his eels and perch this month, a professor at the Copenhagen Museum of Natural History told men to be careful because the fish sometimes mistake male reproductive organs for tree nuts, one of their favorite foods.

I guess this story was just too good to pass up. I saw it everywhere but it actually seemed a bit too silly to post here on DN. My gut instinct was correct. Hoax. CNN even reported it but now reports the full story. Pacus are not carnivores and human males do not act like pacu food. AND… one pacu caught does not mean any more are even there. They are not native to those waters and can’t survive the cold temperatures year round.

Tip: David Wood and Marcus Sprenkel

  6 comments for “Don’t worry Scandinavian Dudes, the family jewels are safe

  1. August 16, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    …and also they live in fresh water – since it was caught at sea, it probably was already dead – it’s not known to be able to transition to salt water.

  2. Rand
    August 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    There’s a show on discovery (or one of it’s sister channels) called “river monsters” or some such which is about some fisherman who travels the world investigating fish attack stories (identifying the offending species, and then trying to catch it). One the the episodes was about some pacu which had been transplanted to somewhere in asia. (deliberately imported for some reason). Turns out the pacu wiped out the local vegetation (totally devastating the local ecosystem), and then did in fact turn carnivorous when it’s normal food supply ran out. . Apparently, there really were several verified attacks of the type mentioned.

  3. Kristen
    August 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I was hoping you’d post this one. It set off my BS alarms immediately, but leave it to the media to uncritically hype anything that has to do with male genitalia. How could they resist a nut eating fish? But of course it was fake, everyone knows fish go for the worm first 😉

  4. spookyparadigm
    August 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Some colleagues of mine and I are writing up some guidelines as to how to deal with media representation of our profession’s research. Somehow, we never thought to include “don’t make random crap up and tell it to a reporter for the lulz.” Never really crossed our minds.

  5. hominid
    August 16, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    So it was all bollocks then?

  6. JonK
    August 21, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Many years ago on an extended off-trail backpacking trip in the Idaho mountains we camped at a lake that clearly hadn’t been visited (or more relevantly, fished) in many years. When the males in the party went swimming au naturel, we experienced small fish nipping at our dangling privates. While unpleasant, it was not painful, and we were dirty enough to not let it get in the way of hygiene. Using more conventional bait, we quickly caught enough fish for a dinner that easily bested our freeze-dried rations.

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