Puffer Fish Needs Dentist After Clash With Stingray

A puffer fish needed emergency dental surgery after a fight with a stingray.

Henry, a yellow Mbu puffer fish had to have a tooth extracted after the encounter snapped off a chunk of the tooth.
The battle took place in the tank Henry shared with Clyde, a ten-year-old American stingray, over a piece of shellfish at the Sea Life Adventure centre in Southend, Essex.

Despite being twice the size of Clyde, it was Henry who was left needing treatment.

Aquatic dentists coaxed Henry, a carnivore which originally hails from the Congo, into a fish bag before carefully lifting him into a sedation vat.

Anaesthetic was pumped into the water in his tank and he was gradually lulled into a deep sleep, where his breathing and heartbeat slowed until he was unconscious.

When the fish was numbed, he was lifted on to a fine-meshed net and laid on folded tarpaulin on a bench so the dentists could get to work.

The tarpaulin traps enough water around him during the procedure to keep him safe before he could be dropped back in the tank.

The whole procedure took 45 minutes.

David Knapp, the centre's curator, said: "The normal diet of the Mbu is shellfish, which help to keep their teeth worn down - exactly like the gnawing rodents do to keep theirs at a manageable length.
"But following the fight, we noticed Henry had become lazy and was just chewing his food with the flat edge of the worn tooth, instead of using the good one.

"Now that good tooth has grown so long he cannot close his mouth, and it's starting to cut his bottom lip - so we had to take drastic action. It is a bit like being buck-toothed."

Clyde has now been relocated to an aquarium in Germany.


I have but one question. Why, oh why? Hmm, maybe that’s two questions.