Two people were reported to have died as a result from attacks by piranhas -a species of carnivorous fish with a strong presence in fresh water courses in South America.- and many others were injured in various incidents along the Paraguay and Paraná rivers.
According to local media, the two fatal victims lost their footing in the water, thus allowing the fish to take bites at their faces.
A 22-year-old man was the first victim while bathing in the Paraguay river Jan. 2 near Itá Enramada in southern Asunción. His disappearance prompted an intense search by the Prefecture and the Paraguayan National Police that lasted 45 minutes. When they found him he was already dead and with parts of his body showing numerous bites, thus corroborating the theory that the young man had been the victim of an attack by piranhas
The second casualty was a 49-year-old man in the town of Puerto Rosario, also in the waters of the Paraguay River. He had also been declared missing hours before until his body was retrieved with signs on his face of having been attacked by piranhas.
Forensic experts eventually confirmed the man had died of drowning and that he suffered the attack of piranhas while he was already dead.
A dozen bathers in the Paraná River at the Bella Vista Hunting and Fishing Club, department of Itapúa (south), suffered bites on their hands and feet as a result of a piranha attack.
Paraguayan media have been echoing other piranha attacks in the Aguaraymi river, in the San Pedro department, and in the Jejuimi river, in the Villa Ygatimi spa in the Canindeyú department (east).
Although there are eight species of piranhas in Paraguay, attacks usually come from the serrasalmus marginatus and the serrasalmus maculatus, which can be found in both Paraná and Paraguay rivers.
Experts recommend to look out for camalotes or floating plants, since it is behind them where piranhas usually hide to attack. These fish can become aggressive under high temperatures or when there is a downspout in the river, since they attack in order to defend the territory in which they have nested.