Eel swims into man's penis during beauty treatment

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The painful ordeal of a man in China provides an abject lesson in what fish species not to use in a fish spa.

Zhang Nan, a 56-year-old man from Honghu, Hubei Province, reckoned that a dip in the spa pool with eels would make him look ten years younger.  

Unfortunately, one of the eels may have enjoyed his company a little too much, swimming up his urethra and into his bladder. This brought a premature end to the spa treatment and necessitated an unscheduled stop at the hospital, where doctors spent three hours removing the 15cm/6" eel (which was dead by the time they got to it).

Zhang was enjoying himself having the eels nibble at dead skin, when his sojourn was rudely interrupted by sharp pain.

"I climbed into the bath and I could feel the eels nibbling my body. But then suddenly I felt a severe pain and realised a small eel had gone into the end of my penis. I tried to hold it and take it out, but the eel was too slippery to be held and it disappeared up my penis," said Zhang.

According to surgeon Jin Wang, who performed the operation, the eel’s slippery body greatly facilitated its unwelcome entry.

"The diameter of the urethra in a man's penis is just a little narrower, but because eels are quite slippery, its body worked as a lubricant and so it got into the penis smoothly," he said.

For what its worth, a quick examination of the photograph of the offending fish reveals it to be an Asian swamp eel (Monopterus albus). At least this species is free of spines and Zhang did not attempt his spa treatment with spiny eels.

Zhang’s ordeal mirrors that of a similar incident a few years ago, when an Indian boy suffered a similar accident involving a small fighting fish.

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