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There are many troubling stories regarding human run-ins with the candirú, though until recent years these were not given much credence by the medical community. It is not uncommon for people swimming or bathing in the river to urinate in the water, an action which creates tiny water currents that are rich in urea and ammonia. It seems that the tiny, slender catfish cannot always distinguish a urinating human from an exhaling fish gill, and on occasion it will attempt its trademark high-speed attack on some unfortunate soul.
It lingers in the murky darkness at the river's bottom, quietly stalking its neighboring fish. Light is scarce in the soupy deep, but the candirú does not need to see… it can taste the traces of urea and ammonia that are expelled from breathing gills.