ORLANDO – Ichthyologists from seventeen countries converged on an abandoned water park in Bay Lake, Florida on Wednesday, after a local resident, Anson Shelbart, reported that he had “..nearly lost an arm..” while trying to retrieve his bicycle that had accidently tumbled off a nature trail into the lagoon. He had been attacked, he said, by a very large fish; in his words: “…a huge SOB, with a mouth full of teeth like razor blades!”
Mister Shelbart, who works part time as a zucchini trainer at a nearby market garden, had the presence of mind to snap a photo of the attacker with his smartphone and post it to the Internet. Within minutes, a fish nerd from Philadelphia claimed that it was a red-bellied piranha, “…easily identifiable by its colouration, powerful jaw muscles and serrated teeth.”
The photograph however showed the fish in the Florida lagoon to be longer than the photographer’s bicycle, which was clearly visible in the background. An Ichthyologist in Brazil, who specializes in the species, called the Florida photo: “…a hoax of gargantuan proportion…” as piranhas are typically less than twelve inches in length.
This professional challenge raised an Internet firestorm of controversy, responsible for bringing the seventeen Ichthyology specialists to Bay Lake.
The fish, which weighed out at 503 pounds, was dragged from the lagoon with a grappling hook borrowed from Mister Shelbart’s zucchini-training academy. It was ultimately pronounced a “freak of nature” by the assembled men of science after they could not come to a consensus as to its exact species.
They did all agree however that it was “excellent” when deep-fried in beer batter and served up with cider vinegar and potato chips.
The Bay Lake water park, which was designed around a wilderness theme with an artificial rustic “swimming hole”, was once owned by Disney. It was abandoned in 2001 after several tourists and a cow went missing in mysterious circumstances.
Reached just before press time, a spokesperson for the Disney Corporation first declined to comment, and then abruptly hung up the telephone. Source: FNT Staff
Photo credit: Original images at: ThoughtCo, Theme Park Tourist