|A male betta fish. Image courtesy of PANPOTE / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
water, waiting for someone to buy them and put them in a slightly bigger container of water where they will spend the rest of their lives alone?
The ones with the larger, more flamboyant fins and tails are males. They are the ones that have to be kept alone. If put with another male fighting, or betta, fish, they will kill each other. They will also kill female betta fish and other fish. They are just mean and aggressive.
But female betta fish, my daughter has discovered, can live with each other and with other fish.
I happen to think the females are prettier than the males. Their fins and tails are not so large that they seem deformed and unable to move. (Betta fish were bred from small, very plain fish that live in the muddy, shallow water of rice paddies.)
This leads me to some questions:
First, betta fish are just one of many poster children for why it’s better to be female than male. I mean, really, would you rather be the cute and cuddly mama seal or the big dumb elephant seal male, bellowing and steamrollering over babies?
Second, what does it say about people that we bred betta fish to be the way they are? We always seem to be breeding animals until they don’t function right, as shown in this BBC documentary on purebred dogs.
Third, male violence and aggression does seem to win out, in human culture throughout history, as well as in the animal kingdom. Why do we smart, healthier females, the ones who have the babies, put up with it? Why aren’t there more Umojas?