Piranha killings are on the rise and there are deadly fish off the UK coastline

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It what sounds like something from a horror film, four bathers have been killed and 20 others injured by piranhas while swimming in rivers in Paraguay in December and into the new year.

The Mirror reports one of them was a 22-year-old male who went missing from his family on January 2, sparking a 45-minute manhunt, before his badly mauled body was found in the Paraguay River, south of the capital Asuncion, at Itá Enramada.

The deadly attacks are a surprise because an unusually high amount have happened in the area in such a short time.

Piranha attacks are often only regarded as a danger in movies and Children's nightmares, much like quicksand or snakes on planes.

But in reality, they are rare and are only more likely to happen when they have young or when warm weather keeps water levels low.

However, they aren't the only water-dwellers with a reputation for having a taste for human flesh – read on for some of the usual suspects and whether they are actually a threat to people.

Are sharks dangerous?

Shark locations:

Various forms of the hundreds of varieties of shark can be found all five continents, however the famous great white sharks will be found in temperate coastal waters.

Can sharks kill you?

The most famous water-based predator would of course attack humans – but it is increasingly well known that shark attacks are rare and often not without reason.

How likely is a shark attack?

The BBC report that in the decade up to 2019, around 83 people were victims of unprovoked shark attacks each year.

Speaking to the Guardian in 2009, Culum Brown, a fish biologist at Macquarie University said: “Your toaster is more likely to kill you than a shark… It is extremely unlikely that you will ever be, or even know, a shark attack victim."

Can a killer whale kill a human?

Killer whale locations

Across the globe – killer whales exist in a huge number of locations. They are most abundant in cold water climates like Antarctica, Norway, and Alaska.

Will killer wales kill you?

Killer whales are certainly capable of killing humans.

They can be up to almost 10 metres long and can take on bigger whales and great white sharks.

But despite being the ultimate water-based apex predator they aren't too fussed about people.

How likely is it that a killer wale will harm a human?

They almost never attack humans. Sea lions on the other hand, are not so fortunate.

How deadly are box jellyfish?

Box jellyfish location

You can find these scary creatures in the Indo-pacific region and Northern Australia.

Will a box jellyfish kill you?

Yes – their stings attack your heart and nervous system. A teenage boy was killed by one in Australia just last year.

It is considered the most deadly marine animal.

How often do box jellyfish kill people?

The Independent reports that 79 people are known to have been killed by box jellyfish in Australia since records began.

How deadly is the blue-ringed octopus?

Blue-ringed octopus location

These funny little animals are found in Japan, through the Philippines and down to north Australia.

Will the blue-ringed octopus kill you?

It might not hunt you down, but Blue Planet reports its poison is 10,000 more potent than cyanide with no known cure.

How likely is a blue-ringed octopus attack?

Very few people have been killed by them, say WebMD and tey are generally not agressive.

Can sting rays kill a human?

Where are sting rays found?

They are often found in shallow, temperate waters in coastal areas.

Will a sting ray kill you?

Yes, sting rays can kill people. It was a stingray that famously killed Steve Irwin.

How likely is it that you could die from a sting ray?

Sting ray deaths are not that common, but they burrow under sand and will sting if they are stood on, Ocean Info says.

How deadly are barracudas

Where are barracadus located?

These scary fish are found in saltwater in tropical and subtropical regions.

Will barracadus kill you?

Terrifying by name, terrifying by nature – these fish have toxic flesh and razor-sharp teeth. They're aggressive and can travel at 27mph. But they won't go for humans on purpose.

How common are barracadus killings?

They might mistake someone in the water for prey, but that's about it.

As such attacks on humans are very rare, and incidents over the past 80 years are remembered indivdually.

  • Animals

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