For many years people believed that goldfish were stupid and had a 3-second memory span. Well, it turns out this is just not true. 80-year-old Peter Bettison spent hours training his little goldfish to play football. The little fish is a pro! His name is Span, after the football icon, Sir Stanley Matthews. Sporty Span nudges his tiny football across the floor of his tank, right into the goal. And he manages it every time!
Peter rewards four-year-old Span with a little food each time he scores a goal, to encourage him to keep scoring. Peter bought Span for his wife, Sheila, when she was ill in hospital. Now he and Span raise funds for hospice together.
“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.”
“It has taken to it really well and seems to enjoy scoring goals. People say goldfish are not very bright and have no memory.”
“What is slightly odd is that its is not built like an athlete, more like a swimming tennis ball.”