Arapaima (a.k.a. Pirarucu or Paiche)
Arapaima gigas

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Range and habitat:
The arapaima is found in the Amazon River basin of South America, which is tropical freshwater.

Natural diet:
The diet of the arapaima consists of fish and other small animals, including birds. At the Toledo Zoo they are fed smelt, capelin, trout, worms and shrimp.

Size / weight range:
The arapaima has been known to grow longer than 8 feet and weigh 220 lbs. or more. At the Toledo Zoo they have grown 5 to 6 feet long and weigh up to 200 lbs.

Interesting facts:
The arapaima is one of the world's largest freshwater fish. As an air-breathing fish, it is able to survive in shallow, stagnant water that may be seasonally cut off from larger water supplies (seasonal ox-bow lakes). The arapaima is hunted for food by local human populations, and its bony scales are used as nail files.

The arapaima is listed as CITES Appendix II, which means it is a species of concern. Special import/export permits are needed to move this species between countries.

Location at The Toledo Zoo:

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