Friday, Aug. 22, 2008 | 4:44 p.m.
Game wardens from the Nevada Department of Wildlife seized nine red-bellied piranhas Thursday from a southeast Las Vegas home.
The species of piranha is prohibited in Nevada because it poses a threat to people and animals if released into the wild, according to the wildlife department.
“Species like this displace native wildlife and they could wipe out those native species,” said Edwin Lyngar, of the agency's public education and information department.
The maximum fine for possessing such piranhas is up to $500 with a sentence of up to six months in jail. Charges have yet to be filed in this case, as game wardens continue investigating to ensure all of the fish have been recovered.
The piranha seizure comes about a week after game wardens seized 100 clawed African frogs last week. Anyone with information on the possession of prohibited animals is asked to call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-992-3030.