Meet the payara. On the outside it looks just like any other fish, but as soon as it opens its mouth, it is obvious this is not a cute little aquarium fish. You thought piranhas were scary? This fish hunts piranhas! The payara is found mostly at the mouth of the Amazon River. It can grow as large as 4 feet and 40 pounds. It has developed a reputation for being an unbelievably aggressive and powerful fish, especially since it hunts a fast and strong fish like the piranha.
God has equipped the payara to be a mighty predator. Easily the most interesting fact about the payara is it’s massive fangs. For a full-grown payara, these teeth can get as long as 4-6 inches! The fangs are very sharp and easily pierce through another fish. Doing so will typically immobilize the fish, making it unable to swim, and it becomes an easy meal.
These fangs are formidable weapons, but you would think they pose a danger to the fish. Why doesn’t the payara pierce itself when it closes its mouth? First of all, this fish has a specially designed upper lip. This lip is thick and has holes for the huge teeth to slide into. These compartments accommodate the length, width, and curvature of the teeth. So, when it closes its mouth, the teeth will slide into these special compartments without harm. Second, the lower jaw swings up and closes at an angle with the upper jaw. Most animals, including people, have jaws that are horizontal when closed. The payara’s top jaw is high and angled so that the teeth will slide perfectly into their compartments.
God engineered the payara to be a formidable predator from its powerful, fast, and sleek body to its frightening fangs. He even protected the fish from itself by providing custom compartments for the teeth.
In the discussion with his friends, Job explained that all the animals of this earth proclaim God as their creator (Job 12:7-10). Animals do not do this with words, but with their unique abilities and designs from God. We are wise when we look out and take notice of God’s creation. Let’s join in with all of creation in Psalm 148 and praise God for His magnificent workmanship.