Red bellied Piranha

Animal File

Rivers and streams
Common Name:
Red bellied Piranha
Scientific Name:
Serrasalmas nattereri
Size: Up to 30cm
South America
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Conservation Status
Deficient data

With razor sharp teeth and a greedy appetite, the red bellied piranha is often feared by humans as being an aggressive predator. Schools of piranha will sometimes join together and go into a ‘feeding frenzy’ where they can strip a large item of prey clean within minutes; this behaviour plays a huge role in their fearsome reputation. However, these feeding frenzies are often the result of starvation or feeling threatened.

Regardless of its formidable reputation, the red-bellied piranha is primarily a scavenger and mainly feeds on insects, fish and invertebrates e.g. crustaceans, as well as fruits, aquatic plants, seeds and algae. They may also feed on small animals and with their razor sharp, triangular shaped teeth, they are extremely efficient at biting through such prey. They have extreme force when attacking; they have a flat, blunt snout, a powerful jaw arrangement and their teeth interlock when their mouth is closed.

Piranhas usually reach sexual maturity at one year old. The female will lay around 5,000 eggs, usually during the rainy season, on newly submerged vegetation which the eggs stick to. The male then fertilises the eggs and after just two to three days, the juvenile piranhas hatch and hide in the plants until they are big enough to defend themselves.

Red bellied piranhas can be found in the Oceanarium’s Amazon display. Visitors can watch the piranhas being fed – check the feeding schedule for times. 

Talks and Feeding times

Children under 3 yrs FREE!! See other tickets

The health of our aquarium family, which includes our visitors, staff and animals, is our top priority. In light of the most recent advice from Public Health England and the government, we will be temporarily closing the Oceanarium Bournemouth effective immediately, until further notice.

We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused.

Please be assured that our dedicated keeper team will continue to provide the best care for our animals during the closure.

If you’ve booked tickets for any day during this closure, you can exchange them for any other date in 2020 or we can provide a refund. Please send your booking details to

We’ll keep you informed through our website and social media channels. Thank you for your patience and we really look forward to welcoming you back to the Oceanarium when we re-open. Stay safe everyone.