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Do Goldfish Yawn? What You Should Know!

If you own goldfish, you've probably noticed them occasionally "yawning." The fact that goldfish frequently exhibit this behavior has led some individuals to speculate as to whether they yawn similarly to humans or other mammals. Although goldfish appear to yawn when they do so, they actually breathe through their mouths instead of ours.

What is it then, if not a yawn? Let's discuss whether goldfish truly yawn or not in "Do Goldfish Yawn? What You Should Know!" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org)!

Do Goldfish Yawn?

Because goldfish don’t yawn, what you are witnessing is not one. There are a number of ideas as to why people yawn, most of them revolve with expanding the lungs or obtaining more oxygen in the body. The pulse rate may be raised, the muscles and joints may be stretched, or particular emotions may be expressed to others.

These processes are either unnecessary for goldfish or are covered by other bodily functions. Goldfish just do not need to yawn as a result of this.

What Are Goldfish Doing When They Appear To Yawn?

This causes some misunderstanding because goldfish frequently exhibit a behavior that resembles a yawn. It may be referred to as a yawn, but it has a very specialized function. Goldfish breathe normally by ingesting water via their gills, which enables them to draw oxygen from the water to oxygenate their bodies.

As goldfish “yawn,” they are actually drawing water away from them in order to flush out their gills. This promotes the health and cleanliness of the gills, which enhances the ability of the lungs to absorb oxygen from water and sustain body oxygenation. They merely do this to support their own body in maintaining its health and effectiveness, not to stretch or communicate.

Does Yawning Indicate a Problem?

There is nothing to worry about if you see your goldfish doing this yawning motion a few times per day as long as they are generally eating, acting normally, and seeming healthy. Your goldfish will go through this procedure naturally to maintain the health of their gills.

If your goldfish seems to be yawning more frequently than usual, there might be an issue. While it usually is a normal, healthy procedure, it can also be a sign that the water isn’t working properly.

If your goldfish’s water is not adequately oxygenated, which can happen in tanks with inadequate filtration and aeration as well as heated tanks since oxygen content in the water drops as the temperature rises, your goldfish may exhibit this behavior.

The parasite gill flukes can reduce the effectiveness of the gills and make your goldfish to feel uncomfortable, which may induce them to backwash the gills more frequently to feel better.

Gill flukes can harm your fish’s gills over time and potentially cause death if left untreated. Although gill flukes cannot be seen with the unaided eye, the harm they can cause to the gills is evident. Your fish will fare better if gill flukes are treated as soon as possible.

In Conclusion

Humans do not perceive a yawn in the same way that goldfish do. They don’t yawn to improve lung health or increase oxygenation like we do, and their yawns aren’t contagious to one another way ours are. Yet, they do make a noise that closely mimics a yawn.

By keeping the gills clean and free of debris, this action promotes the health of the gills and increases their capacity to absorb oxygen. It’s comparable to a human yawn in this regard, but it’s not a real yawn.

As can be seen in “Do Goldfish Yawn? What You Should Know!” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), your goldfish performing this activity numerous times each day is quite normal. But if you see your fish doing it more often or “yawning” more often, and it’s accompanied by other symptoms like obvious redness or injury on the gills, lethargy, or a decreased appetite, this can be cause for concern.

Keep a close check on things to watch for behavioral changes in your goldfish because there are treatable diseases that can cause them to yawn more frequently.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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