April 30, 2020 – THEME WEEK DAY 4

We’re on our second to last day of our Animal Misconceptions theme week! Have you heard that goldfish have a 3-second memory? Not true! Goldfish actually have a memory span of at least 3 months! They have strong associative learning abilities and social learning skills, and can even be taught tricks using positive reinforcement. Goldfish were first selectively bred in Ancient China more than 1,000 years ago. By the Song Dynasty, domestic breeding of goldfish was firmly established. In 1162, the empress of the Song Dynasty began building ponds to collect the red and gold variety of the fish. She also banned all non-royals from keeping fish that were yellow, because that was the color of the royal family. This is probably why there are more orange goldfish today than yellow! Goldfish were first introduced to the U.S. in the 19th century. In 1878, the U.S. Commission on Fisheries gave away Japanese goldfish as a publicity stunt. People living in Washington D.C. could submit requests for glass bowls of goldfish, and at one point, 20,000 were handed out a year. Goldfish also make great Presidential pets – Grover Cleveland and Ronald Reagan both kept them at the White House.

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