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Meet The 93(ish)-Year-Old Fish Who Loves Playing With Dog Toys

Image shows an Australian lungfish swimming in an aquarium.

When you live in a fish tank in an aquarium, life can probably get a tad bit cushy. For about 93 years, it’s been smooth sailing and free meals for an Australian lungfish named Methuselah. The fish arrived at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, CA, in 1938. Her name comes from the oldest person in the Bible. Until recently, there was no exact way to measure her age. It still isn’t an exact science, so they estimate her age to be between 92 and 102. Aquarium personnel do their best to keep her “young at heart” with enrichment activities, including sprucing up her feeding routine.


Come behind the scenes of the Steinhart Aquarium to bask in the joy of our 93ish-year-old lungfish Methuselah, receiving the gift of a dog toy filled with lettuce.

♬ original sound – California Academy of Sciences – California Academy of Sciences

Methuselah is four feet long and weighs a svelte 40 pounds. Arriving from her native Australia 86 years ago, she is an ambassador for her species. The aquarium uses her to educate visitors and increase their curiosity about lungfish. She is not the oldest fish in existence, but she is the oldest fish in an aquarium.

Image shows Methuselah, an Australian lungfish, and the oldest fish living in an aquarium.
Image from TikTok.

The Australian lungfish has remained unchanged by evolution for more than 100 million years. That gives Methuselah the right to the title of “living fossil.” By studying her, scientists can gain insight into the prehistoric past of this species of fish.

Lungfish Require A Varied Diet

In the wild, lungfish are primarily carnivorous and eat fish, tadpoles, frogs, and other freshwater invertebrates. At the aquarium, she has a different diet that keeps her healthy. She receives a variety of fish, invertebrates, fruits, vegetables, and algae tabs. Her favorite food is fresh figs when they are in season.

Left image shows aquarium personnel placing Romaine lettuce into a dog toy. Right image shows an Australian lungfish eating the lettuce.
Image from TikTok.

In the video, aquarium personnel add Romaine lettuce to a dog toy to provide food and enrichment for Methuselah. The toy is heavy, so the lettuce stays upright, making it more like a natural plant. This feeding method provides the most natural setting possible and encourages foraging behavior. The aquarium also has other lungfish, although they are only about half Methuselah’s age at 55 and 51.

As the aquarium approaches its centennial celebration, they are waiting to find out if Methuselah is closer to 92 or 102. They’re hoping to celebrate her longevity during the centennial event. If you are in the area, pop by the aquarium on a Sunday or Wednesday afternoon to watch Methuselah be fed. Her handlers describe her as “an underwater puppy” who loves belly rubs.

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