What Is the Food Chain Involving the Piranha?


Quick Answer

Piranhas are both prey and predator to a variety of creatures in their natural habitat. Though they are armed with razor-sharp teeth that allow them to easily devour their prey, piranhas have to worry about being eaten themselves.

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Full Answer

Although they are known for their cutting teeth and taste for meat, piranhas are actually omnivores. They feed on other fish, mammals, bird, aquatic plants, snails and insects. As babies, piranhas feast on zooplankton until they are large enough to catch small fish. Despite their reputation as killing machines, piranhas have to watch their backs. Pink dolphins, caimans, larger fish and predatory birds such as egrets and storks like to feast upon piranhas.

Piranhas are found in the rivers of South America, specifically the Amazon River where the wildlife is reputed to be intimidating and deadly. They like to hunt in packs and shred their prey with their teeth as they eat. When food is scarce and water is low, piranhas have been known to attack humans, sometimes resulting in fatalities. Often times, nips to the extremities such as hands and feet are all that occur. Splashing and motion attract piranhas, and children are usually the victims of such attacks for this reason.

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