spot-fin porcupinefish

Cold-Stunned Fish Warming up to Seaworld Rescuers

SeaWorld rescued the marine visitor, which now appears to be recuperating

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The spot-fin porcupinefish is a rarely spotted visitor to San Diego waters in December, yet one was recently discovered hovering in place for days and days off Point Loma.

Those fond of noticing things in threes will remember the footballfish and its bioluminescent lure and the cannibalistic lancetfish that were found this fall along the local coastline. Those creatures, of course, just love, love, love ice-cold water. Not so much our new friend.

And unlike those unlucky deep-sea monsters whose journey ended on the sand, the cold-stunned porcupinefish was spotted by the folks at SeaWorld, whose rescue and aquarium teams carefully collected it recently and brought it back alive for care. Evidently, it had been "floating just sub-surface in the same area for three days," officials said. Three more days like that and its rescuers made their move.

Too cold for the porcupinefish but just fine for surfers in thick suits and boys and girls under the age of 9, however.

After it's transfer to a SeaWorld aquarium, the experts said they "started a slow accumulation process to his water tank which involved evaluating the fish in the water and increasing the temperature at a slow pace to eventually reach a near a temperature of 78 degrees, which is a typical temperature for these fish to swim in during this time of the year."

If that's the case, it must be exceedingly rare for the porcupinefish to visit San Diego — ever. Unless there's a volcanic vent we don't know about. Just ask anybody at the beach in August. It's not 78 degrees. No how, no way.

Soon after moving into his new home, Porky was eating, swimming in his tank and showing awareness of its surroundings, all evidence of recovery, say its rescuers.
For now, he's remains under the care of SeaWorld.

We can only hope, for its case, that SeaWorld doesn't wait for the water to warm up to 78 degrees to release it back into the ocean.

"[The] fish is doing very well." SeaWorld said on Monday. "The fish continues to have a steady and healthy appetite, and is eating a variety of food items. Overall, its behaviors, appetite and curiosity prove that the fish is doing very well." 

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