A fish caught in Arkansas' Lake Bentonville last Friday is in fact a piranha, state officials confirmed.
The man who caught the fish initially thought it was a large perch, until he reeled it in. “When I went to take the hook out, he opened up his mouth and tried to bite me," Roger Headley said in the video above from KNWA Fox 24. "I about messed my pants."
A biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission came to the lake on Friday to confirm the catch, KFSM news reported.
Piranhas are usually not dangerous to swimmers in these circumstances because the cold water of lakes makes the fish sluggish and less aggressive and they generally only survive a few days, Alan Bland, an Army Corps engineer, told the news station.
A spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission told The Huffington Post that someone deliberately placed the South American fish in the 10-acre manmade lake. It was "probably a pet that got too large or difficult to manage," Keith Stephens said.
He said there are various species that are dumped in the state's lakes from time to time, and recalled an octopus that was found in Lake Conway in 2003.
"It's illegal to stock state waters with any type of fish," Game and Fish Commission biologist Jon Stein said in the video. It's also illegal to "possess, import, or transport" piranhas within the state without a special permit.
Headley said he’s kind of glad he caught it. “What would have happened if some little kid [had] caught that?”