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Murgatroyd was becoming really excited about the huge pond he had

excavated at the side of the pele tower.  He had wanted to farm carp,

but changed his mind when he spotted a care leaflet online which advised

on the care of sturgeon.

Historically, they were discarded as a nuisance, he informed Diana,

but now they are prized for their economic potential.

Do they thrive in cold regions? asked Diana.

Think Russia, replied Murgatroyd.  They are hardy- especially the

snub-nosed ones.  Acipenser brevirostrum.  Once they are about three

feet, their growth rate slows down.  Mind you, some of them are on

the Red List of Threatened Species.

Biologically they are similar to sharks.  They forage on decaying

salmon parts.  Basically they are cannibals.  The Dwarf species eats

invertebrates for breakfast.

Hell, no, joked Diana.  The invertebrates claim to be able to look after


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They outgrow their habitat very quickly, continued Murgatroyd and

like to be big fish in a small pond. They throw their weight around as

if they were starlets!

Diana took the downloaded article from the table and studied it briefly.

Sterlets, actually, she corrected him.  Just as in the film industry, parasites

are probably attracted to them.  Maybe you should think carefully before

committing to such ruthless predators.  They might look cutesy at the

beginning, but they would be difficult to re-home when they outgrow their

surroundings.  They can become bogged down too and then can’t reverse

out of a bad dead end situation.  Reverse paddling isn’t one of their skills,


Like boasting that Scotland could survive on its oil! laughed Murgatroyd.

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Oh look!  The Pallid Sturgeon has small eyes, a big head and is paler than

other varieties.  It says here that keeping any of them is akin to trying to

tame reef sharks.  Some are armoured and can only be handled by gauntlets.

Which they have a habit of throwing down, added Murgatroyd, thoroughly

getting into the pre-election spirit.

It says here that one should never hug or squeeze a sturgeon, Diana

summarised. It tells you to expect the unexpected and advises that the

leader should be cut to improve the well-being of the others.  They have

survived for aeons owing to their strong sense of smell.  They can detect

rotten salmon stink bait from vast distances.  They are broadcast

spawners too.

You know, I think I might stick to koi carp after all, Murgatroyd sighed.

Better the devil you know…

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