Farewell to finned star

February 17, 2017

Grandad was a Lungfish who lived in Chicago

In what might be one of the great innings, a little Aussie battler has achieved a stunning century.

His name was Granddad and he had a slimy little face, loved eating earthworms and boasted more than 100million fans including pop star Meghan Trainor and other A-List celebrities.

Granddad was a fish. He is dead.

But Granddad wasn’t just any fish. The Australian lungfish, before his death on the weekend in Chicago, held the record for being the oldest fish in captivity anywhere in the world.

‘‘Granddad is sleeping with the fishes,’’ is how the Chicago Sun-Times broke the news to its readers last Monday.

Granddad’s exact age is not known because fish do not have birth certificates.

But thanks to staff at his home, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, it was believed he was a sprightly teenager when plucked out of a tank at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and transported to the United States for the 1933 Chicago World Fair.

That would put him just over or under 100-years-old, so let’s give him a break and give him that hard-earned century.

Granddad was humanely euthanased on February 5 after he stopped eating worms and was suffering a rapid decline in quality of life associated with old age.

‘‘Granddad lived a pretty relaxed life, enjoyed interactions with us, including gentle pats along his back, and loved to eat his leafy greens,’’ Michelle Sattler, who cared for Granddad at Shedd for more than 30 years, said.

Granddad never said what the secret to his long life was because fish can’t talk (don’t be fooled by Finding Nemo).

But it was likely the earthworms.

Shedd staff loved Granddad so much they treated him to earthworms every Wednesday.

‘‘Worms were definitely his favourite and he would become quite animated on what became ‘Earthworm Wednesdays’, when they were dropped into his habitat — animated for a very slow-moving fish,’’ Ms Sattler said.

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