You wouldn't want to run into a piranha school while swimming but there is something kind of bada** about owning one.

Piranhas have an interesting reputation and when most people think of piranha, they think of their teeth and how fast a school of them can devour a meal. The odds of a school or shoal of piranha attacking a human are slim but according to Lethbridge News, it would take 300-500 of them to eat an adult human, and they could do it in about 5 minutes. To make matters worse, Piranha schools can grow up to 1,000 fish!

Check out this piranha tank feeding. They finish this steak in a handful of seconds!

*This is a steak feeding demonstration, however, viewer discretion is advised*

YIKES! While a school of piranha does have the ability to do this to a person, it's extremely unlikely. These fish prefer to dine on fruit, small fish, and worms.

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If you were interested in potentially owning one of these bad boys, can you do this legally in Iowa?

Unsplash - Juan Orestes
Unsplash - Juan Orestes

Is It Legal?

I was a bit surprised to find out how many states where it is illegal to one a piranha. According to World Population Review, there are 26 states where it is illegal to own one of these exotic fish. The good news for Iowans is that if you would like to become a piranha parent, you can do so legally.

Most of the states where owning and selling piranhas is illegal are in the southern part of the country with a few states out east not allowing piranha ownership. If you live in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, or any state to be considered in the Midwest, it appears you're good to go.

Bad Reputation

Part of the reason piranhas have such a bad reputation is because of our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt. According to Smithsonian Magazine, in 1913 he encountered these fish in South America and called them the most ferocious fish in the world.

"They are the most ferocious fish in the world. Even the most formidable fish, the sharks or the barracudas, usually attack things smaller than themselves. But the piranhas habitually attack things much larger than themselves. They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers."

Piranha in Iowa?

Did you hear about the piranha that was caught in an Iowa pond? Reports say that in 2002, a man caught a piranha in a north-central Iowa pond. DNR officials at the time believed the fish was a pet that someone had let loose in the pond rather than flushing it down the toilet.

Speaking of fish, if you're looking for 9 of the best fishing spots this spring in Iowa, there will be up to 2,000 trout released at these locations. Who knows, maybe you'll beat the state record!

Iowa's State Record Fish

Fishing season has arrived in the great state of Iowa and here are photos of 34 of the state record-holders for particular species. There are actually a total of 55 record-setting fish in the state of Iowa but, unfortunately, pictures aren't available for all of them.

Gallery Credit: Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Most Common Scams Iowans Fall Victim To

It seems like scammers are getting smarter and smarter every year. In 2023, thousands of Iowans fell victim to fraud. Here are the top ten scams that Iowans fell for.

Gallery Credit: Kerri Mac

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