APR 08, 2018 08:50 AM PDT

Cross your legs! Can that fish really swim up your pee-hole?

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Have you ever heard of that fish in the Amazon that swims up your urethra when you pee in the water? I know its reputation would certainly make me think twice about relieving myself in the mighty river. The story goes that the small, translucent fish, called candiru (it's Latin name is Vandellia cirrhosa) has the ability to swim up the human urethra through a stream of urine and lodge itself with sharp barbs on the inside of your body - not a pleasant feeling to even imagine, let alone experience. But is it true?

Most likely candiru's reputation is all a myth. Though there are references of this fish's devious actions from as far back as 1829 and many third-hand local accounts of such situations occurring, it's possible that locals were actually experiencing kidney stones, instead of attacks from the so-called vampire fish, and fluid dynamics rebuffs the plausibility of a fish swimming up a urine stream. But what about the widely covered case in 1997 when footage of a candiru being removed from a man's penis sent a scare around the world? Watch the video to find out if it warrants your worries or not!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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