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jeudi 23 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Toilet Fish

The toilet fish, Pisces toiletus, is a mysterious animal that has been appearing in Chinese mythology for over two thousand years. Considered a good omen by most, and a tasty delicacy by a select few, the toilet fish has inspired many Chinese legends, and today is well known in all of Asia.
As its name indicates, the toilet fish lives in toilets. More precisely, it lives in the water that is used to flush the toilet. Whether it be in the cistern of modern flush toilets, or in the water-bucket found next to dry toilets, wherever there is water near a toilet, there is a chance that the toilet fish may inhabit it. But what makes the toilet fish so mysterious isn't his choice of habitat, but rather how he gets there.
As of today, nobody knows how the toilet fish colonizes its habitat. Even though the water it lives in is often disconnected from natural streams, and replenished through human effort, the toilet fish still manages to appear in it. Given that the smallest toilet fish seen to date was at least ten centimeters long (~4 inches), and the biggest specimen known grew to a total length of forty-two centimeters (~16 inches), it is evident that we know nothing about the larval stage of this strange vertebrate. And since toilet fish always live alone, their whole reproductive cycle is a mystery even today. Early attempts at breeding failed miserably, with the fish simply dying after a while, and no young ones appearing.
In an effort to finally understand the life-cycle of this mysterious creatures, Prof. Han Chu of the Society of Mythical Beasts of China (SMBC) is in the process of building a new “laboratory” to study the fish. The laboratory is designed to be as close as possible to the natural habitat to the fish, and to that end, will be a simple four-story house, which will also serve as living quarters for Prof. Chu and his staff. However, the sewage system of the house can be cut of from the public one, and water is inspected at several intersections, to try and detect the early life-stages of the toilet fish. It remains to be seen whether Prof. Chu's efforts will be rewarded.
Because of it's mysterious appearance, seemingly coming out of nowhere, the toilet fish has long been a favorite of Chinese mythology. It has been considered a good omen by most, as well as beneficial for a healthy digestive system. In addition, it is said that people with a toilet fish live longer, more fruitful lives than most. It is even rumored that Mao would only do his business on toilets where the fish was present.
It is probably due to this perceived value, as well as the powers attributed to the fish, that some have come to regard it as a delicacy, and the fish can be sold at a high price on the black market (trade is prohibited under Chinese and international law, since the species is rare and eventual impacts on its population that consumption might have have not yet been understood). However, most Chinese believe that the removal of a toilet fish from its home, let alone its consumption, are very bad luck.

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