University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Is he nuts? Man tests pacu fish

Would you take a dip in pacu infested waters - just to prove a point? Kristian Sørensen sets out to restore the reputation of the 'genital-eating' pacu fish

With pig hearts in your shorts, and walnuts in your pockets, swimming in an aquarium filled with manatees, arapaimas, and pacus is pretty risky. These fish have recently had their names besmirched as testicle hungry monsters. That is exactly what Kristian Sørensen, an veteran animal keeper of 13 years at Randers Regnskov tropical zoo, has just done. For the record – his genitals are still intact.

“I am tired of the media circus, surrounding my beloved pacu fish. They are docile creatures, and I’m going to prove it by taking a swim in their aquarium”, Kristian said to the Unviersity Post.

The 375,000 liter fish tank is the home to 30 large pacu fish, and after the pacu fish had been primed with nuts, Kristian Sørensen went for a swim in front of 100 curious onlookers, emerging unscathed.

Bad reputation

While pacus are omnivorous, and will eat water snails, their diet mostly consists of fruit and nuts that have fallen into the rivers. During Autumn, as many fruit and nuts fall into rivers, pacus feast in order to build fat reserves.

It is their diet of nuts that has been blamed for reports of testicular attacks in Papua New Guinea.

According to a press release by Randers Regnskov, pacus have been exposed to smear campaigns by the media, which has unfairly presented them as fearsome, testicle crushing monsters.

We stand by our warning

It is worth pointing out that Kristian did wear swimming trunks into the aquarium, and cannot discount rumors of pacus mistaking testicles for nuts. The University Post thus stands by our previous recommendation that swimming trunks should be worn – for both safety and aesthetic reasons.

Whereas pacus might not be a danger to swimmers, Randers Regnskov does remind owners of exotic pets that they should not abandon their pets in the wild. While, thus far, it has just been one single small pacu that has been caught, it is possible that foreign species introduced into the Danish ecosystem can have broad implications for its balance.

Check out the pictures from Kristian Sørensen’s display of bravery, below.

Like us on Facebook for features, guides and tips on upcoming events. Follow us on Twitter for links to other Copenhagen academia news stories. Sign up for the University Post weekly newsletter here.