Levi devoured by piranhas in the “Pantanal : is it really possible? Biologist replies

Monday’s episode of TV Globo’s Pantanal was not a very pleasant one for villain Levi, played by Leandro Lima, considering he met his tragic end when he was devoured by piranhas. The character, already bleeding, had a boating accident in the middle of a chase. While swimming, he was attacked and bitten to death. The event suddenly piqued the curiosity of viewers, who turned to Google to learn more about this fascinating fish. But after all, would such an event have such drastic consequences if it happened in real life? To dispel this doubt, GLOBO contacted biologist Nonato Mendes Júnior, an environmental analyst at the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).

According to Mendes, there is no scientific record of humans being eaten alive by piranhas, so the chances of an attack are virtually nil.

“It’s a myth that the piranha eats live people,” he said. “So what happened on the soap opera is fiction. I’m not going to say that the impossible can happen, because science deals with probabilities. What has to do with certainty is religion working with dogmas. I’ll say it’s “nearly impossible” because there’s no record of people being eaten alive in the scientific literature. it’s a myth

However, Mendes does not rule out the possibility of piranhas devouring human bodies. He explained that the most common reaction of these fish is to advance on corpses.

“Usually a person dies from a heart attack or a stroke, for example falls into the water while on a fishing trip and the corpse is devoured by piranhas. That can happen, there are records,” he added.

Regarding accidents involving people alive Mendes mentioned the existence of reports in Brazil, particularly in the lower limbs, especially the toes. Nevertheless, most of these attacks are not serious, “which would lead to limb amputation, a deformity of the bitten limb,” says the biologist.

Usually these cases [de mordidas leves] They happen due to recreational activities, for example, in the spawning area of ​​​​piranhas, in the vegetation along the river, the lake, where this aquatic vegetation is and is a spawning ground all year round. And what happens? She’s defending her offspring, so it’s a defensive attack in that respect,” he explained.

As Patrícia Kogut’s column reported this Wednesday, the scene of Levi’s death sparked the search for piranhas in the Pantanal. According to Google Trends, terms like “Pantanal piranhas,” “Pantanal piranha,” and “there are piranhas in the Pantanal” rose more than 1,000% in searches.