Candiru (or the-fish-you-don’t-want-to-get-intimate-with)

This is the english version of a post written in portuguese, which can be found here.
Two fish are the stuff of nightmares in the Amazon region: the piranha and the candiru. The former is the carnivore that has sharp teeth and is attracted to blood, like small river sharks, while the later is a parasite that is attracted to urea and has a head that works like a hook.
Oh, yeah…
Piranhas kill in the traditional way: chewing your meat until there’s nothing left but partially-cleaned bones and a temporally satisfied school.
The candiru, in turn, kills in an innovative way: They freak you out dead.
But not the kind of freak-out that makes the freak so chic. Oh, no. This is much worse.
The fish, which is thicker than it should be, enters the urethra of people trying to relieve themselves in the river.
So why would this animal do such an evil thing?
Not on purpose, that’s for sure.
The candiru doesn’t really cares for willys. It is a temporary parasite that attaches itself to other fish for a few minutes in order to feast on their blood.
The victims excrete ammonia and urea from their gills, which attract the sucker. When the candiru reaches the gills, it hooks itself to an artery, where blood will be pumped into itself via the prey’s blood pressure.
Clever, ay?
The fish smell urea and ammonia dissolved in the river, like piranhas smell blood and bouncers smell fear.
However, when Candiru gets into the human urethra, nothing happens since it can’t suck blood, like mosquitoes do. Unless there is positive pressure pushing blood down its throat, it cannot eat.
For the candiru, the human urethra is like the soup bowl for the crane.
When the little bugger realises there’s no blood coming, it relaxes and tries to get out.
However, it’s too late: by that time, the owner of the urinary passage is already running like hell through the forest with his apendage safely shelled in between his hands, crying.
If this image doesn’t stop you from relieving yourself in the Amazon river, I don’t know what’s what.

Discussão - 6 comentários

  1. I will never pee in the Amazon! I promise!

  2. KittysBitch disse:

    Something similar happened to me once, backstage after a show.
    Nothing ends a party like "running through the forest with your member in your hands and crying a lot".
    Welcome Brazilian bloggers!!

  3. Fernando Magyar disse:

    Man, it hurts just to look at it!

  4. Onilton Maciel disse:

    I didn't get what the image is. And what are those translucent things? Can someone explain me? Are they from the fish? If so, it doesn't make sense.
    I don't know where are you from, Carlos Hotta. But I am from Manaus, Amazonas. My father once told me this candiru thing is kind of a myth for him. He lived in the country part of Amazonas (we call here "interior") for about 24 years (his childhood and more) and never heard about anything like this. Neither his parents and friends (who also lived there). Maybe this thing could happen, but someone smart enough would feel it in time do something about. He told me that it is truth that when someone dies and the body goes with the river and when the body is found you can find candirus all over and inside the body. He thinks that maybe that's where the myth first started. The first time he heard something about candirus inside alive people that needed to go to hospital to remove it were here, in Manaus. And here (in Manaus) we don't even hear anybody talking about it (candiru) going through the urethra, but through the anus, wich makes a lot more sense because of the fish side. My father says also what people say about candiru going inside alive people could be true, but probably is something very, very rare.
    I don't know if he is right. But he and his brothers (some older than him) knows A LOT about these things. They know a lot of names of birds, trees, fishes, and some curiosities about these and also about the forest and the river since they lived a great part of his live in these places.

  5. Igor Santos disse:

    Hi there Onilton.
    The translucent things are the candiru's hooks, on its head.
    The article is actually mine, Carlos just published it when we got on the air, but we are both from Brazil.
    I didn't get the "but someone smart enough would feel it in time do something about". Do you mean we should get rid of the fish?
    In my original article (in portuguese) I said the candiru can "make a terrible mistake" and go, indeed, into someone's anus, but that bit didn'g get into the translated version.
    There's a registered episode of the candiru going up some guy's urethra and there's even a Discovery Channel show about it.

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