This phrase popped in my head one day, while tidying the kitchen. It took me a few minutes to place it, then I remembered it came from Finding Nemo, proudly announced by a character known as Darla, the fish killer. It does make one wonder why someone would give a child, who identifies as a Piranha, a gentle little clown fish snatched from the Great Barrier Reef.
To do this post, I researched Piranhas. It turns out they may not be as fierce as their reputations, after all. They’re members of the Tetra family. If you have spent a significant amount of time in an aquarium store, you’ll notice the resemblance to smaller Tetras sold for freshwater tanks. Granted many species do have sharp, scary teeth. But they are sometimes omnivorous rather than carnivorous, meaning they’ll eat whatever is available; and they’re just as likely to scavenge as hunt. Rather than a hunting tactic, they seem to school for protection. Piranhas are not apex predators. That honor goes to larger animals, like caimans, a relative of crocodiles and alligators. Native to the rivers and lakes of South America, like all creatures, Piranhas serve a function in their original habitat. Including providing a food source for people, depending on the culture. Those who do eat them have some favored preparations, including Piranha soup. Apparently, it’s considered an aphrodisiac.
Well. Perhaps aspiring to be a Piranha is not so desirable after all.