Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has come with bad news this week. With saddened hearts, they announced the death of their oldest resident, Granddad, an Australian lungfish. The aquarium released an online statement where they informed of the rapid decay in the health of the fish which made them take the difficult decision to euthanize him.
Granddad was estimated to be around 100 years old. The aquarium staff is not 100 percent sure how old the fish is, but they know he was in his teens at the time of his transfer at the aquarium in 1933. In 2013, they celebrated Granddad’s 80th year at Shedd.
Granddad, together with a mate of his, were the first lungfish to be brought on display at Shedd. Unfortunately, Graddad’s friend died in 1980 and left him earn the title of oldest resident of the aquarium.
These lungfish originate from the Mary and Burnett rivers in Queensland, Australia. What is special about them is the fact that, in addition to their gills, they possess an extra primitive lung that allows them to breathe when water becomes scarce during droughts.
Granddad used to breathe underwater and also take big breaths of air, this causing him to make weird noises that constantly startled the visitors and the staff. Moreover, it is not uncommon for these specimens to surpass 100 years old threshold.
Bridget Coughlin, CEO of Shedd Aquarium, stated that she found it amazing that over 104 million guests were able to see Granddad over eight decades and learn about this unique species.
His caretaker talked about Granddad’s life and how he managed to live for a century. He spent most of his time lying on the bottom of his tank and “imitating a fallen log”, according to his caretaker. He followed a rich diet which contained fish, clam, shrimp, a special diet gel, and a mix of fruits and vegetables. His daily favorite was Romaine lettuce and, every week, he was offered the special treat consisting of earthworms.
Granddad was one of the most popular fish in the Shedd Aquarium. Many people must have been saddened to hear of the tremendous loss the aquarium suffered, since many of them have known Granddad since they were children.
Everybody will remember Granddad and he will remain forever an important character in the history of Shedd Aquarium.
Image Source: Flickr