My favorite animal trick

January 25, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More

At least this is my current favorite animal trick.

You know, there are innumerable good dog tricks. There are lots of cat tricks. But there aren’t many fish tricks.


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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Neat, but the skeptic in me says, "Surely they made them eat iron balls and are using magnets under the table to move them around."

  2. I did a quick Google search –

    Most of the commenters who have a lot of experience with fish don't think it's real.

    Erich, stop torturing your fish now. They won't do this synchronized swimming! 😀

    See Museum of Hoaxes.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Proj: I read the commentators regarding the incredible fish. Hmmmm. the trick does seem too good to be true. The backing up of two fish looks especially suspicious. And why is the water so shallow? To allow the magnets to work with whatever is under the table? I'm sympathetic to the magnet theory now.

    Does that magnet trick work on human children?

    OK, I'm going to confess that when I was 12 I did something cruel to a goldfish. The science project was almost due. I was desperate. I looked up "fish" in the World Book Encyclopedia. There was a diagram of the fish's innards showing the air bladder. There was a note mentioning that the fish can stay upright for two reasons: air bladder and the eyes noting the position of the sun. I took a big goldfish out of a little pond and poked him once with a pin where I thought the air bladder was (I did not use anesthesia–I was 12–there must be some sort of statute of limitations here). I then put the fish in a big glass bowl. I turned off the overhead lights and put a small light UNDER the glass bowl. To my amazement, the fish swam upside down. I remember being quite proud that I had demonstrated that fish DO use the position of the sun as an indicator of what is UP, at least when the air bladder is disabled.

    I took the project to school and showed my sixth grade class. The room lights were darkened. The little light was turned on UNDER the glass bowl and the fish swam upside down. No applause. My classmates were unimpressed. I don't remember the grade I got. I wasn't sent to juvenile court. I hope that, if there is a heaven, it isn't run by fish. For all of you who are nodding agreement with a sense of schadenfreude, I would ask you how many tons of fish you've eaten in your life?

  4. That does indeed smack of desperation, Erich. 😀 But poor fish… 🙁 I'm sure when I was a kid I also did a couple of cruel things to animals. Kids can be awful…

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