A rare sight: A puffed up pufferfish!

A rare sight: A puffed up pufferfish!

It’s a balloon! It’s a melon! No, it’s…a fish? The other day a keeper at Den Blå Planet found a big yellow ball in the enclosure of our black-spotted pufferfish.

Animals of the ocean are known for their incredible defence mechanisms. Some shoot with jet black ink, others hide in plain sight with their amazing abilities to camouflage themselves. Others, like the black spotted pufferfish, fills itself with water and balloons itself into a size most predators don’t want to mess with.

See also: Are boring grey fish worth saving

Do I look a little bloated to you?

Even the least vain pufferfish can feel a little oversized when puffed up to the extreme, and it can be hard not to crack a smile at the round little chubster. The rotund fish isn’t doing it for jokes though, as the ability to puff themselves up is a great way to make sure they don’t get eaten.
If they feel threatened they can reach double their size in just a few seconds, by swallowing a lot of water, and if they are lifted above the surface of the ocean they are known to fill themselves up with air instead.

An inflatable mystery

In nature, pufferfish inflate to protect themselves, but here at Den Blå Planet it is a mystery when it decides to show off its ballooning abilities. Despite a lack of danger, it will practice it’s defence mechanism once and a while. Possibly because it got a little shock from its surroundings, or perhaps just to make sure it can still ward off those pesky predators!