‘Bring back my screen!’ Grouper fish binge-watches RuPaul’s Drag Race during lockdown as worried aquarium workers stream the TV series to its tank to stop it getting lonely
- Grouper named Queen Gary III, as its sex isn’t known, loves underwater realness
- Fish at Brighton aquarium has binged on more than 150 episodes and 12 series
- Keepers have now moved the up to six-foot fish on to Netflix’s Tiger King
A grouper fish has been binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race during lockdown after worried keepers gave the aquarium resident a screen to watch the show to stop it getting lonely.
The fish has since got an almost daily dose of underwater realness, getting through more than 150 episodes and 12 series.
Keepers at Brighton Aquarium said the grouper, named Queen Gary III as its sex can’t be determined, was a fan of the bright colours and movement as fellow queens strutted down the runway.
Groupers are the largest fish to inhabit reefs, growing up to six feet long, and are thought to be highly intelligent. Previous studies have shown they communicate by pointing their fins.
‘Bring back my screen!’: Queen Gary III has binge watched more than 150 episodes and 12 series of RuPaul’s drag race at Brighton aquarium during lockdown
Con-dragulations: After Finding Nemo failed to impress, worried keepers found that RuPaul was an instant hit with the grouper
‘Can I get an amen up in here?’: Queen Gary was given a personalised television after the grouper started swimming in the middle of the tank, showing despondency
Senior aquarist Joe Williams said they put up a screen for Queen Gary after it became despondent during the first few weeks without guests, and started lingering in the middle of the tank.
‘Gary is normally a very curious fish that interacts frequently with guests and staff members alike,’ they said. ‘But with lockdown this was taken away.’
‘We care deeply about every single animal we have and always strive to find ways that we can deliver care, so I set up the TV screen to keep Gary entertained while visitors aren’t able to come to the centre.
‘Initially, I was surprised that Gary loved RuPaul’s drag race as much as I do, but it’s colourful, has a lot of movement and includes real people, so it makes perfect sense!
‘I’m not 100 per cent sure which queen is Gary’s favourite but he always watches when Mama Ru is on the screen.’
After the aquarium re-opens on July 4, the senior aquarist told MailOnline that they will continue monitoring Queen Gary’s behaviour and ‘keep on streaming favourite shows should it show any signs of despondency again’.
The aquarium also put on Finding Nemo for the grouper, which failed to impress. Its latest fascination, according to keepers, is Netflix drama Tiger King.
Fellow Queens: Keepers said the fish enjoys drag race because of the bright colours and movements including watching queens strutting down the runway
‘Sashay away’: The grouper’s behaviour will be monitored after re-opening on July 4. If it shows signs of despondency, it will be allowed to watch more television
Queen gary is a queensland grouper. These fish can grow up to six-foot long and are the largest in the reef. They are thought to be highly intelligent
Sea Life Brighton has also put up a television screen for other aquarium inhabitants, to help ensure they don’t become lonely due to the lack of interaction during lockdown.
When the aquarium re-opens on July 4, guests will be required to book online before turning up and distance from each other using markers on the floor. Hand sanitiser will be available to all visitors.
The aquarium has also ensured temperature checks will be available, and said staff will be wearing PPE and carrying out additional cleaning during the day.
‘We are really looking forward to welcoming guests back to our Sea Life sites across England and Ireland and as ever, the health and safety of our visitors and staff remains our number one priority.
‘Each site is utilising an extensive range of safety measures, designed to ensure a happy, safe and healthy experience for all.’
You can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race on Stan in Australia.
What are Queensland Grouper fish?
Fisherman with giant grouper this year
Queen Gary III is a member of the Queensland Grouper fish species from Australia, which are also known as the giant groupers.
It is the largest fish found on coral reefs, growing up to six-and-a-half-foot long and weighing in at up to 62 stone.
The fish tend to live in waters up to 330 feet deep across the Indo-Pacific region, but will also enter lower parts of rivers such as the Brisbane river.
They munch on a variety of marine animals including small sharks, baby turtles and other fish.
The giant groupers population has significantly declined since the 1990s when it was overfished. The IUCN lists the animal as ‘data deficient’.