“The world is fixed, we say: fish in the sea, birds in the air. But in the mangrove swamps by the Niger, fish climb trees and ogle uneasy naturalists who try unsuccessfully to chase them back to the water. There are things still coming ashore.” 

Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey

Mangrove Killifish live in the coastal mangroves in Africa and South America. They are small, but aggressive fish, that fight hard to survive the ebbs and flows of a tidal existence.  Killfish essentially live in puddles, which start to evaporate in the dry season.  They represent nature at its most adaptable. When the puddles begin to disappear, their aggressiveness gives way to resourcefulness as they climb their way out, attaching to logs and trees and then boring in the cracks and holes for up to two months.  During this time they begin to breathe and eliminate through their skin.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” 


I’ve been doing the opposite. Submerging as much as possible in the bottom of the lake, where it’s cool and quiet. With the Wim Hof breathing method I was recently turned onto, I am up to about 30 seconds. Killfish outa water: up to 66 days!

Maybe it’s time we adapt to our new conditions, and be like mangrove killfish. Because, as Loren Eiseley said;

“There are still things coming ashore. “

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