Cannibal goldfish found alive – 134 days after Christchurch quake
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Thursday 28 July 2011
They are the smallest and toughest survivors of the earthquake that struck Christchurch last February.
Two goldfish spent 134 days in a tank with no one to feed them or clean their water. Discovered earlier this month when their owner, Vicky Thornley, returned to her office in the ravaged city centre for the first time, Shaggy and Daphne – named after characters in the cartoon Scooby Doo – are believed to have survived mostly on weeds and algae. They may have had another source of nutrition, for three of their companions were missing from the tank at Quantum Chartered Accountants.
Ms Thornley, the company director, was about to step into a lift when the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit. She grabbed the tank, both to stop it from falling and to steady herself. "I was clinging on for dear life," she said.
Ms Thornley and her three colleagues managed to escape from the building, located in Christchurch High Street, but her first thoughts were for her five-year-old son, Joshua, who turned out to be unharmed.
With much of the city centre destroyed, it was not until three weeks ago that she was allowed back into the office – and only for an hour, under escort. She didn't look in the tank, assuming the fish were dead. But she said a recovery worker yelled to her: "Hey, there are fish here and they're alive!" Ms Thornley said: "I was astounded."
The goldfish looked dull in colour, but otherwise appeared in good health. She scooped them out and took them home in a bucket to her son Joshua, who has two fish of his own, Scooby and Fred.
According to Paul Clarkson, curator at California's Monterey Bay Aquarium, the survivors were fortunate to live in a large, 100l tank with plenty of weeds to eat and algae growing on the rocks and walls. While there was no electricity to power their tank filter, naturally growing bacteria may have helped keep their water clean enough to sustain life.
Goldfish: the facts
* The biggest goldfish ever caught in the UK measured 18-inches long and weighed 7lb 5oz. It was found in a lake in Norwich.
* If a goldfish is kept in the dark it will eventually turn white.
* If kept in a tank, one gallon of water is recommended for every inch of goldfish.
* Some types can live for up to 20 years.
* Goldfish are the only animals that can see infrared and ultraviolet (UV) light.
Drug-resistant bacteria: Sewage-treatment plants described as giant 'mixing vessels' after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river
Toxic waste creates hermaphrodite Arctic polar bears
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Wisborough Green becomes the first village in Britain to fight off fracking
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£12024: Randstad Education Leeds: Teaching Assistant September 2014 start - te...
£130 - £162 per day + UPS: Randstad Education Hull: Physics Teacher Long Term ...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...