What about piranhas and anacondas?
What about piranhas and anacondas and all the other nasty Amazon Critters you’ve heard about? - Piranhas and anacondas make terrific Hollywood movie fare. Undoubtedly you've seen plenty of horrific movie scenes where the intrepid explorer is either consumed, dismembered or flayed by these almost mythical jungle terrors. Well folks, that's Hollywood! Boring movies don't sell.
The reality is much less exciting. These critters don't really pose any risk at all to the peacock bass fisherman. Piranha are the panfish of the Amazon –sunnies with fancy dentures, so to speak.
People eat piranhas, not the other way round. (They also make terrific catfish bait.) There are over 80 species of Serrasalmidae (the family in which piranha are classified) in the Amazon and three quarters are vegetarians. The rest are for the most part, toothy scavengers that subsist primarily on diets of small fish, fins, scales or carrion. One can safely swim or bathe in any of the rivers we fish. Piranha prefer to swim away whenever they can.
Anaconda provide a rare but exciting sighting on the rivers we fish. These beautiful giant reptiles feed primarily on fish, large rodents, caiman, and aquatic birds in the riverine environment. Anaconda do not eat people and when disturbed, will avoid humans by taking shelter under water. Although peaceful and normally retiring, they are large, wild animals and must be given reasonable space. Like any other wild creature, they will bite or defend themselves if they feel cornered or threatened.
This holds true for all the wildlife in Amazonia. People are just not on their natural menu. Treated with reasonable respect, they are happy to go about their business and avoid contact with humans. Observe and enjoy them without interfering in their activities and they are no more dangerous than the wildlife in your own regional wilderness, in fact, probably less so if you live in bear country.