Fish Have Feelings Too!


Fish are social animals with their own unique personalities, and they are far more intelligent than they are given credit for. They are sentient creatures with their own inner lives and individual desires and should be treated with respect and compassion. Sadly, poor forgotten fish are often underestimated and mistreated.

Here are just a few reasons why fish are so fin-tastic:

1. Researchers have found that fish recognize each other and gather information by eavesdropping. They can even eavesdrop on the calls of dolphins to avoid getting eaten!

2. They’re capable of remembering past social interactions that they’ve had with other fish, and they show affection by rubbing against each other just like other animals.

3. Neurobiologists have long recognised that fish feel pain and suffer stress just like humans and other animals.

Fish have much more complex inner lives than they’re typically given credit for. Image credit Spike Stitch, CC BY-SA 2.0.

4. Fish have been on the earth for more than 450 million years – that means they were around long before the dinosaurs!

5. Some species of fish can fly, some can walk and others can even climb rock and waterfalls.

6. Fish have excellent senses of sight, touch, taste and many possess a good sense of smell and “hearing.”

7. Many fish are known to change sex during the course of their lives.

8. Although they have no visible ears, fish can still hear sound. Some fish can even distinguish the music of one composer from another.

Fish have many abilities that most people assume they lack. Image credit Stefan David, Camper, CC BY-SA 2.0.

9. Some fish can recognise (and spit at!) human faces.

10. While you’ve probably heard about marine animals like dolphins and whales being able to communicate with one another, you may not have heard that some fish can talk to each other too. They contract their swim bladder to create vibrations that make a range of sounds. It appears that some species are chattier than others – gurnard are among the most talkative, making distinctive grunts and keeping up a pattern of chatter throughout the day, whereas cod are mostly silent unless spawning.

As people become more aware of the amazing capabilities, intelligence and individuality of fish, we hope that they will choose to boycott the zoos and aquariums who force them to spend their lives in captivity. Freedom for Animals are working towards a world where all fish can be free in the sea where they belong.

Featured image: a fish in an aquarium. Image credit Duncan Creamer, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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About Author

Freedom for Animals began as the Captive Animals' Protection Society in 1957 and is one of the UK’s longest-running charities working to protect animals. Through a combination of undercover investigations, research, campaigns, grassroots activism, political lobbying and education, our work for animals focuses predominantly on issues affecting those individuals held captive in circuses, zoos and aquariums, as well as those used in the television and film industry, live animal displays and the exotic pet trade. Click to see author's profile.

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