I saw that show, too.
While visiting a tropical fish exporter in Iquitos, I was amazed to see
workers there handling electric eels with bare hands and not getting
shocked. I later learned that the workers, expecting our arrival, harrased
the eels until they used up all their juice. Then the eels are safe to
handle for a short while.
According to all the references I've seen, the discharge from an electric
eel is strong enough to knock a person down, but not to kill him (unless he
drowns after being knocked down). I think stories of electric eels killing
horses are also exaggerations, although it may be possible for one to fall a
horse in certain conditions.
> I made some comment about this to someone who has collected some of those
> areas while we were at a killie event (probably Jim Thomerson). He responded
> that yes, one had to be careful around piranhas, but mostly they were
> dangerous in the dry season when stranded in a pool where they were indeed
> starving and became panicked when cornered.
Yes, I can say from personal experience that piranhas are not dangerous
(unless you are trying to get a hook from their mouths). I have safely swam
with them many times in their natural habitat. In fact, piranhas are wimpy,
nervous fishes....although I would probably stay out of the water when they
are feeding on a fish or capybara carcass.
> He noted that Native Americans were careful with piranhas but feared the
> Candiru and the freshwater stingrays.
Yep, those are the 2 most feared fishes in Amazonia. The ray's toxin is
immensely painful. I've heard stories of locals killing themselves by
running into trees the pain was so bad. I saw a local whose hand merely
rubbed up against the stinger of a dead ray and it was seriously inflamed.
> Thomerson also was fond of showing a slide of Leo Hoigne's finger. Attached
> like the extension of a additional digit, was a baby wolf fish who just
> wouldn't let go.
Yep, wolf fish (Hoplias) are mean and have big teeth and strong jaws. They
are found everywhere in Amazonia, in all habitats. They're good to eat, too.
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