The Devil’s Hole Desert Pupfish

One of the rarest fish on earth.

I wish I had known, on a recent visit to Death Valley, that there’s a tiny little chunk of the park that’s 60 miles away that sends my nerd radar off the charts. It’s a 40 acre plot that surrounds Devil’s Hole, a hole filled with water that’s so deep that no one is sure how deep it goes. Divers have gone down as far as 436 feet, and still have not been able to see the bottom.

But this hole in the ground, which is only 10 feet wide by 60 feet long, is special for another reason, too. The top 20 feet of this water is the only known habitat for the Devil’s Hole Desert Pupfish, one of the rarest fish on earth. At last count, in 2019, there were 136 of these fish observed in Devil’s Hole.

These fish are so rare, in fact, that the facility is surrounded by fencing and cameras. That didn’t stop a few local idiots from breaking in to skinny dip, leaving beer and vomit in the water behind them. Fortunately only one fish was killed in that fiasco, but that’s one fish too many.

To make sure this species survives, the government actually built a 4.5 million dollar facility about a mile away from Devil’s Hole, where they are raising some of these pupfish in captivity, just in case. That’s a lot of money, but somehow it makes me feel better about the world. To see this place with your own eyes, check out this 5 minute CBS Sunday Morning video.

I never thought I’d be saying this, but rock on, you pretty little pupfish!

The beautiful fish in question.

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that?


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

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