Piranhas are infamous for their hunger for human flesh or any flesh for that matter.

They are depicted as a group of predators who would devour a human in mere seconds in various adventurous movies.


But is it true? If it is not true, then why are piranhas illegal in the US?

Piranhas are not that bad.

They attack humans and injure them mostly but there are instances, especially in the Amazon basin where they have devoured humans.

Even those humans died first either due to heart attack or drowning.

So, technically, piranhas didn’t kill a lot of humans.

However, the point is humans kill more piranhas than piranhas kill humans.

Are Piranhas Illegal in the US?


Then the question arises, are piranhas illegal in the US? If yes, then why are piranhas illegal in some states?

The answer is simple. Piranhas are an invasive species.

They will destroy other native species wherever they are introduced (except for their native habitat) thereby destroying the ecology.

It is the primary reason why piranhas are illegal in some states of the USA.


It is to be noted that the notion of piranhas attacking and killing humans might also have an impact on the legislation.

Teddy Roosevelt went on an expedition in the Amazon basin and saw them devouring a sick and nearly dead cow.

He was quoted saying, “They are the most ferocious fish in the world.

Even the most formidable fish, the sharks or the barracudas, usually attack things smaller than themselves.

But the piranhas habitually attack things much larger than themselves.”


The states in which it is illegal to own piranhas are

The states that allow you to own piranhas are as follows:

  • Wyoming,
  • Wisconsin,
  • West Virginia,
  • Vermont,
  • Tennessee,
  • South Dakota,
  • Rhode Island,
  • Pennsylvania,
  • Oregon,
  • North Dakota
  • New Jersey,
  • New Hampshire,
  • Nebraska,
  • Montana,
  • Missouri,
  • Minnesota,
  • Michigan,
  • Maryland,
  • Kansas,
  • Indiana,
  • Illinois, and
  • Delaware.

If you are caught possessing a piranha illegally, the fine can run up to thousands of dollars.

The fine varies from state to state.

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