On a July Saturday, Janna Clinton sat on her back porch, watching her 11-year-old son fish in the pond behind their Oklahoma home.

When Charlie started calling out for Mom, she leaped out of her seat and dashed over to her son, who was stunned by the creature dangling from the end of his fishing line.

The Clintons’ neighborhood pond is a favorite catch-and-release spot for bass and catfish. However, during the weekend of July 14, Charlie discovered an unusual species and contacted his mother, Janna, for help.

“Oh my God, Mom!” he cried out. The mother shouted, “Oh my God!” “I thought he was just being dramatic, to be honest.”

She saw the catch had human-like fangs when she looked closer.

“Obviously, we’re accustomed to catching a few bass or catfish in a nearby pond…”I mean, nothing with human-like teeth,” she explained, adding that the fish fought hard. “(Charlie) stated that it fought hard.He was the only one fishing down there, and he did an amazing job.”

The Clintons posted a photo of the weird fish on their neighborhood Facebook page, and residents who saw the post and photos commented: “THOSE ARE HUMAN TEETH,” one user noted, while another exclaimed, “What in the world!?!?” That’s strange!”

Some suggested that the family make contact with wildlife. “That is not a catch-and-release situation!” “Thank you for taking it seriously,” one user remarks, adding, “You might want to report that to someone in wildlife or something…”

Before approaching wildlife about their unusual capture of the day, the family returned the fish to the pond.”It’s a catch-and-release pond…We returned it because we didn’t know any better at the time,” Janna explained. “We made a mistake there.”

The family learned that Charlie had captured a pacu, a South American cousin of the piranha. The pacu has square teeth and a modest overbite, in contrast to its omnivorous relatives, which have razor-sharp teeth and an underbite.

It’s unknown how it ended up in the pond in a suburb north of Oklahoma City, but wildlife officials believe it was a pet that outgrew its tank and was released into the wild.

On Twitter, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) wrote, “Dear, whoever released an entire Pacu (a South American fish closely related to Piranha) into a NEIGHBORHOOD pond; how dare you.”

The Tweet prompted discussion in the internet community, with many individuals taken aback by its razor-sharp fangs.

“WHY DOES IT HAVE HUMAN TEETH?” wondered one bewildered user.

“IDK WE DIDN’T MAKE THEM,” ODWC replied, before sending another message: “Charlie Clinton caught your fish.” He is 11. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PETS TO GO OUT. THEY ARE AN EXOTIC, INVASIVE SPECIES THAT COULD HARMFULLY AFFECT OUR LOCAL ECOSYSTEMS.” This could lead to a terrifying situation that is exceedingly hazardous to the environment.

It wasn’t the first time a pacu has been discovered in Oklahoma. Kennedy Smith, 11, grabbed a pacu from Marina Cove at Ft. Cobb Lake in July 2018, less than two hours from the Clintons.

At the time, Oklahoma Game Wardens posted a warning on Facebook, saying, “…Pacu have been caught in a few fisheries in Oklahoma before.” The non-native pacu was most likely introduced into Oklahoma waters by persons who purchased them as pets and then released them after they outgrew the tank in which they were raised. Pacu can reach a height of 3.5 feet and weigh 88 pounds.”

Despite the fact that these bizarre fish are typically harmless to humans, they have earned the frightening moniker “the ball cutters.”

When a pacu was sighted in the Oresund Sound in 2011, skinny-dipping Swedes were warned.

“There have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea, where some men had their testicles bitten off,” fish expert Henrik Carl said, adding that fishermen had their testicles bitten off and died as a result.

“They bite because they’re hungry, and testicles fit nicely in their mouth,” Carl said. “It normally eats nuts, fruit, and small fish,” he went on, “but human testicles are just a natural target.”

Meanwhile, Charlie has been chasing the pacu at the pond in the hopes of baiting it once more.

“He did stay at the ponds pretty late that night trying to catch it again,” Janna said of her son, who fishes from early morning until late at night in the hopes of landing a prized catch. “If he catches it again, we’ll have it mounted for him.” That’s a great prize, and he deserves it…I promised him we’d make the fish smile so you could see its teeth.”

The pacu is a frightening fish! Even still, we feel sorry for the creature that was kidnapped from its natural home and then released into a new one when its owner was unable to care for it. This behavior is hazardous for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the environmental damage it creates.