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Piranhas



Piranhas
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.36

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    piranhas, caribe, red-bellied, notorious, piranha, cannibal, razor, bloodthirsty, meat-eaters, traced, ferocious, fierce, reputation, aggressive, nasty, encounter
     content words:    South America, President Theodore Roosevelt, Brazilian Wilderness


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Piranhas   

1     Piranhas, sometimes called cannibal fish (or caribe in Spanish), have a notorious reputation! Tales are told that schools of piranhas ("puh-rah-nuhs") attack animals - large or small - with no mercy. They sink their sharp teeth into their victim's flesh and devour it quickly. Within minutes, their victim is reduced to nothing but bones. Found only in the tropical areas of South America, are piranhas really as nasty as rumored? Well, the answer to this chilling question is "not really."
 
2     There are about twelve different species of piranhas. The one that we are the most familiar with is the red-bellied piranha or the red piranha. Surprisingly, as ferocious as they are believed to be, not all types of piranhas are meat-eaters! Some of them rely on their razor sharp teeth and powerful jaws to crack fruits and seeds that fall into the water. For the types that do eat meat like red-bellied piranhas, they often attack animals smaller than themselves, such as other fish, frogs, insects, or birds. Piranhas don't usually attack a large animal unless they are very hungry, or the victim is weak or injured. In fact, the Indians of South America have been known to swim in rivers full of piranhas without getting bitten even once.
 
3     So, .....
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