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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

Piranhas take a bite out of swimmers in Brazil

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...
Piranha 2011 11 17Enlarge
Somebody's hungry. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

For some tourists in western Brazil, a part of them will always stay at the popular Daveron beach.

Sadly, that part will probably be a toe.

Piranhas have been attacking swimmers on this beach for the past two weeks. As small as five inches long, the angry little fish have a voracious appetite for meat of any kind.

Sometimes, it's people.

Nobody has died, the AP said, but people have lost toes, and others chunks of their legs and ankles. About 15 people have been attacked in the past two weeks.

Elson de Campos Pinto, 22, was one swimmer who came away less-than-whole:

"I took a dip in the river and when I stood up, I felt pain in my foot. I saw that I had lost the tip of my toe. I took off running out of the river, afraid that I would be further attacked because of the blood. I'm not going back in for a long time."

Sometimes animals attack. No big deal, right? But authorities in the area have refused to close the beach, saying it's a big tourist attraction and they don't want to drive people away. 

Instead, they put up a sign: ATTENTION SWIMMERS. AREA AT RISK OF PIRANHA ATTACKS. DANGER! 

The thing is, nobody else ever thought there were piranhas in the water. The hungry little guys have been known to swim around the area, but never on the riverbank near the tourist beach.

But then, nobody thought to ask the locals.

A local fisherman, Hildegard Galeno Alves, weighed in, saying he regularly catches piranhas when he fishes there:

 

"I come here with my kids and I always see blood on the river banks. "The worst is that the attacks are in shallow water, next to the bank."

Is everyone paying attention?

"I would never even think of going in there," he said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/que-pasa/piranhas-take-bite-out-swimmers-brazil