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Puffer fish at Bristol Zoo is 'just like a puppy'

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Winston, one of the latest arrivals at the aquarium at Bristol Zoo, is so talented he's been trained to come to keepers for food.

The blackspotted pufferfish has doleful eyes and dark shading around his mouth, which make him look like a small underwater puppy. In fact the species is also known as the dog-faced puffer.

Just like a dog, Winston has been trained to come across to keepers for food. He swims to a small floating ring through which he raises his head to be fed.

Bristol Zoo says Winston, with his big eyes and lips, is like a little underwater puppy. Credit: Bristol Zoo

He really is an intelligent fish and there are good reasons why we train him. It’s good for him because it gives him stimulation and allows us to carry out visual health checks.

– Olivia Edgar, aquarium curator at Bristol Zoo

Winston's keeper Olivia Edgar also says that the trick ensures he gets enough to eat. He doesn't swim as fast as the other fish who tend to beat him to food scattered for them.

Who could ignore those doleful puppy-like eyes? Credit: Bristol Zoo

Winston came to Bristol Zoo from the SeaQuarium at Weston-super-Mare, which closed recently. He is one of 40 fish from the resort’s former attraction to have been transferred to the Zoo.

We are delighted to have been able to give them all a new, permanent home. Winston is an amazing fish and so aware of everything that is around him.

– Olivia Edgar

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