The hands of cod

A fish has become a talented footballer and is able to score goals despite his pitch being severely waterlogged.

Goldfish, Span, is able to dribble a tiny football across a submerged pitch in his tank before tapping it into the net.

Owner, Peter Bettison, 80, has made a hobby of training Span to become a talented sports star and set him up on an intensive training course.

Peter, from Exeter, said: “People say goldfish are not very bright and have no memory but Span comes back to playing even after a long lay-off.

“She has taken to it really well and seems to enjoy scoring goals.”

Peter rewards the young striker with a nugget of food every time it hits the net – a method often used when teaching dolphins to do tricks.

He has also used this reward system to teach Span how to play netball, limbo and swim through hoops.

He said: “Basically you start gradually using a reward system – a bit like footballers’ pay but fish food for it – to encourage the fish to first swim through a ring.

“Then gradually you work up to a six-inch tube for the fish to swim through, horizontal, then vertical.

“Then there is the limbo where it swims under a bar and finally you introduce the ball which is plastic and doesn’t float.

Peter now uses the fish’s skills to raise money for Hospiscare.

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Georgina is a member of the Swell UK marketing team and has been keeping tropical fish for a number of years now. Her favourite fish being the stunning, male Siamese Fighting Fish. She is also looking to expand her existing collection to include keeping saltwater fish as well. Her other pets include Bengal cat, Walter, and Labrador and Rottweiler cross, Presley.

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