A German angler was left open jawed after slipping the landing net under a 6lb South American PIRANHA while fishing a river near Heidelberg.

The two foot long razor toothed fish, which police said must have been a pet which had out-grown its tank, was lured from the River Neckar to the west of the town.

A day earlier a giant snapping turtle whose jaws police said could have severed a human arm was wrestled ashore after a two-week search of Dornach Lake near the southern town of Munich.

There are many species of fish in the genus Serrasalmus that are all called Piranhas. Serrasalmus nattereri is the most common.

Reports of Piranhas biting people in their native habitats are rare, so the danger of Piranhas is exaggerated. However, they have severely bitten people who have dipped their hands into tanks, probably because they were under-fed.

Piranhas are reared on flake food and freeze dried blood worms when small, but as they grow bigger they prefer to eat chunks of fish or beef.