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Family's 'Pet' Piranha Bites Off the Fingertip of a Toddler

By Meredith Carroll |


Were no gold or clown fishe available at the pet store?

Someday my family would like to get a pet, but with two kids under the age of 4 running around the house, I’m currently in no mood to take on the responsibility of an extra heartbeat.

When we do get a pet, it’ll be something like a lap dog or maybe some fish. And by a lapdog I don’t mean a pit bull, and when I say a fish I don’t mean a piranha.

A family in the Chicago area probably wishes right about now they had made different pet choices after their “pet” piranha – you know, the omnivorous fish known for having razor-sharp teeth and a “voracious appetite for meat” — severed the fingertip of their 18-month-old daughter.

They heard the little girl crying and initially “thought their pit bull was to blame,” according to the New York Daily News (via the Chicago Tribune).

Would you really keep a pet in your house that you even thought was capable of harming your children? Yikes.

As it turns out, however, the pit bull was innocent. It was the piranha that was the culprit.

So you also keep violent fish in an aquarium where a toddler can just reach in with her hand? Yikes.

The girl was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and a Cook County Sheriff’s Department spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that the dad cut open one of two piranhas and found the fingertip inside. Doctors tried to reattach it, but it’s unknown if they were successful.

The parents were understandably beside themselves and are not facing any charges.

Hopefully they’ll rid their house of all the creatures known to eat fingertips and maul children in the future. Hopefully.

Photo credit: iStock

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “Family's 'Pet' Piranha Bites Off the Fingertip of a Toddler

  1. Allie says:

    I’ll give you that piranhas make for ridiculous pets, but pit bulls aren’t inherently evil. There are awful pit bulls out there, don’t get me wrong, but there are awful dogs across all breeds. And most awful dogs are created by awful owners. I know quite a few pits that would do nothing more than cover you in gentle kisses.

  2. bob says:

    Show me house with dangerous pets and in it I’ll show you a man with no confidence in his own masculinity.

  3. Shannon says:

    Bob, I agree. A piranha and a pitt bull. Sounds like someone has a Napoleon comples. Mom needs to grow some to keep her family safe.

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