Balloonfish in “Sophie and Max Show Some Ocean Love”

Jill Smith balloonfish

The very first marine critter Sophie and Max rescue in my children’s book “Sophie and Max Show Some Ocean Love”, is a balloonfish entangled in a fisherman’s net.

The idea for this scenario came from a video (video below) that I stumbled across a couple of years ago, and I just never forgot about it. It was easy to find again, and I viewed it many times as I was creating my watercolour images of the balloonfish scene. When you see the video, and look at my artwork, it is obvious to see where I got my inspiration!

Do you notice how the balloonfish is growing rounder and rounder as the man gently clips away the net? They gulp copious amounts of water if they feel they are in danger, and it is a very effective defense mechanism when discouraging their prey.

How else can balloonfish protect themselves? They also eject a toxin called tetrodotoxin that not only makes them taste bad, it is deadly for other fish to eat (and for humans too if not prepared properly)! Strange that there are reports of dolphins playing with pufferfish seemingly just to get high. Pretty weird stuff! I hope you enjoy the video:

balloonfish rescue
Balloonfish gets rescued from netting

Introducing children to the concept of ocean conservation and empathy for ocean’s critters.

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