Image for Fish play chicken

Fish play chicken

Duration: 01:50

Fed by volcanic springs, Lake Magadi’s waters are not only caustic, but in places they’re hot enough to poach an egg. Amazingly, there’s a creature that has made its home in the most extreme environment in which fish life has ever been recorded - a little fish, known as the alkaline tilapia. The algae on which the tilapia feed grow best in the volcanic springs so each little fish faces an agonizing choice. It can stay safe, but hungry, or it can risk life and fin in a dangerous game of ‘chicken’, dashing into the hot spring, snatching a mouthful of algae, then dashing back into cooler water before it cooks. Most of the fish are content to hang around the margins of the spring, but there’s always one adventurous, or extra hungry individual prepared to go for the jackpot. There’s no question of the rewards, but it’s a hugely risky game.

Available since: Tue 26 Jan 2010


Hugh Quarshie
Phil Chapman
Executive Producer
Mike Gunton

This clip is from

The Great Rift: Africa's Wild Heart Water

2/3 Looking at the colourful wildlife of East Africa's lakes and rivers.

First broadcast: 31 Jan 2010

Image for Water Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss