Our newest arrival is certain to turn heads because he is fluorescent yellow and he has a special talent.
He is a blackspotted pufferfish named Winston by keepers and he lives in the Zoo’s aquarium.
Winston has doleful eyes and dark shading around his mouth, which make him look like a small underwater puppy. And just like a dog he has been trained to come across to keepers for food. He swims to a small floating ring through which he raises his head to be fed.
Olivia Edgar, our aquarium curator, said: “He really is an intelligent fish and there are good reasons why we train him. It’s good for him because it gives him stimulation and allows us to carry out visual health checks.”
But she said it also helped to ensure he got enough to eat as pufferfish were not built to swim fast and when feed is scattered other fish often eat it all by the time they arrive.
Pufferfish get their name because they have the ability to inflate themselves if they are in danger. They can do this because rather than scales, they have two layers of skin which is elastic and once inflated it is very hard for predators to attack them.
Olivia said: “They only do this as a last resort because to inflate themselves puts a huge strain on them.”
He came to Bristol Zoo from the SeaQuarium at Weston-super-Mare, which closed recently. He is one of 40 fish from the resort’s former attraction to have been transferred to the Zoo.
Olivia said: “We are delighted to have been able to give them all a new, permanent home. Winston is an amazing fish and so aware of everything that is around him. We really hope everyone will enjoy coming to see him.”
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
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