[Fox News] Oklahoma boy catches exotic fish in neighborhood pond: ‘Human-like teeth’

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An 11-year-old Oklahoma native has reeled in an exotic catch — one that is most certainly not native to Oklahoma.

Charlie Clinton of Edmond, Oklahoma, caught an exotic, invasive fish known as the Pacu, a freshwater fish related to the carnivorous piranha. It’s a South American fish, native to the Amazon. 

The boy reeled in the fish on July 16, according to the Facebook page of Janna Clinton, the 11-year-old’s mother.

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Charlie Clinton caught the exotic fish in a pond behind the family’s house, one of the primary places he goes fishing when in Oklahoma, he told Fox News Digital.

The Oklahoman said he was in shock when he first saw what he caught.

“I first thought it was a giant sunfish but then realized it had teeth,” Charlie Clinton shared.

“I started screaming for my mom to come look at the fish.”

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The boy was still unsure of what he’d caught, since he had never seen anything like this type of fish before.

All he knew was that “it didn’t belong in the pond.”

The strong-jawed Pacu “put up a pretty good fight,” the 11-year-old noted, before he released the fish back into the neighborhood pond.

He caught the invasive fish in a “catch and release pond,” but did not know what the species was at the time or that it should have been kept and removed from its location.

No one has caught the South American fish since Charlie Clinton first reeled it in, as far as the family knows, but he hopes he is the one to nab it once again.

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When Charlie Clinton pulled the fish out the pond, he thought his discovery was “pretty crazy and nobody would believe [him],” he said. 

Janna Clinton was on the porch watching her son fish at the neighborhood pond as he reeled in his unusual discovery.

“I was excited for him … I took pictures for him and was just in absolute shock,” Janna Clinton told Fox News Digital.

“I have never seen a fish like that in my life, so it was pretty alarming to see something with human like teeth.”

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Charlie Clinton has been frequenting the pond in his backyard since his family moved to Edmond and has been fishing since he was three years old, his mother said.

This catch was exciting for the 11-year-old, but it is believed the fish illegally made its way into the water — although this is not the first time the exotic fish has been found in a rural Oklahoma pond.

“We do get a report every few years,” Kelly Adams, the communication and education supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, told Fox News Digital.

“We think people acquire these fish for their aquarium and release them once they get too big, which is illegal.”

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The non-native fish in the wild can pose a threat to species native to the area by competing for both the habitat and nearby resources, Adams continued.

The Pacu can grow up to three feet in length and weigh as much as 65 pounds, but is not a threat to humans, unlike the closely related piranha, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo.

If you find yourself needing to rehome a pet or an exotic creature, contact a local shelter or your state wildlife department to learn how best to relocate the animal, reptile or fish. 

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