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Fish Are Fascinating Animals

Fish look so different from us, many people don’t realize that they feel pain—but they do! And being hooked hurts. Fish have very sensitive mouths, so it hurts badly when they are caught on hooks. And just like you can’t breathe for very long underwater, fish can’t breathe when they’re out of water. So when a fisher pulls them out of their watery homes, they start to slowly suffocate and die.

Even if fish are thrown back into the water, they can die from the injuries that hooks cause. Fishing is no fun for fish!

5 Ways to Help Fish

  • Grab your friends and head for a creek, lake, beach, or pond, and help out the animals whose lives count on that water by cleaning up.The number one cause of injuries and death to birds and other animals who live near the water is “fishing litter,” like hooks, fishing line, nets, and string. When animals come to the water for a drink, they get tangled and sometimes strangled in fishing litter.
  • Put up signs at local fishing spots reading, “Please do not leave fishing line here.”
  • If someone asks you to go fishing, explain why you won’t go. Tell them that fish have feelings and deserve to live just like anyone else. Suggest some of these activities instead: Frisbee, kite-flying, basketball, snorkeling, in-line skating, riding your bike, or bird watching. There are lots of ways to have fun outside without hurting your animal friends!
  • Create a “fish-friendly” display for your local library. Include pictures of fish, useful facts, and information on why people shouldn’t fish.
  • If your school fair has contests that give free goldfish as prizes, organize a group of students to complain to the principal. Explain that a frightened, lonely goldfish is no prize, and suggest stuffed animal toys or other non-animal prizes instead.

10 Cool Fish Facts

  • Fish never close their eyes.
  • Some fish hide their babies in their mouths. At the first sign of danger, they’ll open their mouths and let their babies swim inside!
  • Fish use their mouths for many things that people do with their hands: collecting food, building homes, and taking care of their babies.
  • Some father fish carry the eggs that contain their babies in their mouths until they hatch!
  • If a porcupinefish is confronted by danger, he or she will gulp water and inflate up to 2 feet, and sharp needles will pop out to frighten off predators.
  • Spotted boxfish release a poisonous mucus when they are captured by other fish, causing predators to spit them out because of the bad taste!
  • Tuna can swim more than 100 miles in a day—with a top speed of 40 miles per hour.
  • Fish who want to be cleaned swim to cleaning stations, where they wait in line for special “cleaner fish” to do their job. The small cleaner fish remove and eat parasites and other material from the larger fish’s skin. The larger fish will also let the cleaner fish swim into their mouths and eat food particles stuck in their teeth.
  • Fish have been around for more than 480 million years.
  • Fish have very sharp vision. They can also smell, touch, feel, and taste, just like us. Plus, they can sense light, chemicals, vibrations, and electricity.