Water is an essential element for life on Earth. Plants, animals and human beings depend on its existence and, in fact, it would be very impossible for us to survive without having access to this “vital liquid”. However, have you ever wondered what can go wrong with the animals that live in the water?
Yes, being well hydrated is essential to life but … what happens to marine animals? Do fish drink water? This question, and many more, will be answered in this Bright-Pets article!
Do fish drink water?
The seas and oceans cover the largest areas of the Earth and they are home to millions of species, however, how do the animals that live there hydrate? The human being needs to drink fresh water, containing a MAXIMUM concentration of 2% of salt, otherwise, the body will need to expel a greater quantity of liquid, the consumption of salt water will end therefore lead to severe dehydration or even death. Nevertheless, the species, which live in the seas and the oceans, do not have access to fresh water but … how do they drink suddenly?
Let’s start by saying that sea fish drink water constantly, even if, of course, not all fish consume the same amount of water. In order to survive in their marine environment and to adapt well, the animals that live there must find a balance between the salinity of the water and that of their own body. The simplest and oldest organisms, such as anemones, sponges or sea urchins, have the same salinity in their organism as that which exists in water. However, this characteristic is not at all shared with the rest of the fish species, such as teleosts.
Teleosts are called an infra-class of fish characterized by their bony vertebrae, their tail, their scales and their swim bladder. The vast majority of fish belong to this subclass. Another of their characteristics is that the concentration of salts in their body is less than that of the sea. These fish drink water to regulate their salt level and to avoid dehydration, a completely normal phenomenon when they lose water. through the skin.
This essential regulatory mechanism receives the name “osmosis”, it has the function of retaining the salt absorbed when the fish drinks. Thus, these fish urinate in small quantities, so as not to lose the salt. In this way, when the fish drink water, the excess salts are secreted by the cells present in the gills, because they will not be used by the organism of the animal.
This mechanism is regulated by a structure present in the kidneys, the renal corpuscle, responsible for carrying out the necessary filtration to take advantage of the components which the fish needs and to get rid of those which it does not need.
We are sure that it seemed odd to you to learn that the fish pee. Nevertheless, it is a completely normal and essential organic function for these animals, although the quantities and concentrations of elements vary according to the species and the characteristics of the water in which they live, everything will depend, for example, salinity levels, PH, etc.
In addition to all these details, whether sea fish or freshwater, ALL fish pee.
Do river fish drink water?
As with sea fish, fish, river or freshwater, also ingest this vital liquid, even if they do so in smaller quantities. In this case, fish have a higher concentration of salt in their body than that present in the environment in which they live, so they will have to avoid losing the salt in order to survive.
In this case, when the fish drink water, there is a loss of salt. To avoid it, they use two mechanisms: the first is in the external part of the body, the scales as well as the mucous substance which covers the organism limits the access of water to the organism. The second is found in their kidneys, because it is these organs that process excess water and that expel it in large quantities, but in very low salt concentrations. In fact, freshwater fish are among the animals that urinate the most! In addition, in some cases, these fish avoid drinking.
Do dolphins drink water?
Now that you know that fish drink water, it’s normal to wonder what is going on with other species, like dolphins. These marine animals, which are cetaceans, have small amounts of salt in their body, just like terrestrial animals, which makes the consumption of fresh water counter productive for them. Suddenly, dolphins drink water but moderately!
In addition, it is essential to point out that the diet of dolphins consists of foods rich in salt but, suddenly, how do they manage to avoid the high concentrations of salt in their body? They have a reniculate kidney, an organ responsible for processing all of the salts to expel them while peeing. Because of this, their urine may have a higher salt concentration compared to that of the sea. The same thing happens with other sea mammals, like the elephant seal.
Do sharks drink water?
As for sharks, you should know that their organism has a concentration of salt very similar to that of the sea, in order to counteract the large amounts of urea, what happens with sharks is similar to what happens with fish Sharks drink water? Only in small quantities. The vast majority of cases, water enters their body when it devours a prey. Excess salt is secreted through a saline gland, located at the level of the animal’s rectum.
All sharks live in salt water, but the bull shark is able to migrate into fresh water at certain times of the year. When this happens, their body filters smaller amounts of salt and more urea, it is this process that allows them to withstand the low salinity of fresh water and to absorb a greater amount of this liquid without the need to recover lost salts.
Do the fish sleep?
Now that you know that fish drink water, however, when it comes to sleep, it is important that you know that fish do not sleep in the same way as mammals do. However, they need rest like all other living things.
These animals take small naps, lasting a few minutes, during which it is possible to see that their activity ceases or that it is significantly reduced. They no longer respond to light stimuli, they reduce their metabolic rate as well as their heart rate. Sometimes they take refuge near rocks, corals or in algae which give them protection and comfort. To deepen the subject, it is here: Do the fish sleep?