Close

Buy Tickets Online


Learn About Memberships

Search the Zoo for:

Close or Press [ESC]

Red-Bellied Piranha

Pygocentrus nattereri

Range

  • Amazon basin in South America

Habitat

  • Tropical American rainforests

Diet

  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Crustaceans
  • Worms
  • Carrion
  • Seeds
  • Plants

Despite its reputation, the small fish is a timid scavenger and finds food by scent or motion.

Fulfilling the role of the vulture, schools of piranha keep the river clean by consuming dead or injured animals, insects, snails, scraps and even plants. Their razor-sharp teeth can strip flesh from a large animal in minutes, but they themselves are commonly eaten by local people who use the fishes’ jaws as scissors.

Explore More Animals