“Buttkiss, a 20 lb. black Pacu (related to the Piranha), has been living in the same Queens pet shop since the Summer of Love. That’s right, he was born in 1967, and 41 years later he’s still going strong. Why is this so special? The average life expectancy of a Pacu is 2 to 20 years — so pet shop owner Steve Gruebel must be the reigning king of Pacu care!
In 1968, Buttkiss was sold to a man named Kurt Emerick. At the time, the fish was only about two inches long but soon grew to be much bigger and became very aggressive. Emerick wasn’t so psyched when the Paco started knocking things over in his fish tank, so he returned him to the pet shop, where Gruebel named him after linebacker Dick Butkus. (Gruebel likes to spell it Buttkiss.)
Gruebel has been working at the Cameo Pet Shop in Queens, New York for 47 years. He now owns the shop that originally belonged to his wife’s father, and Buttkiss has been there pretty much since the beginning. “He’s my mascot,” Gruebel tells Paw Nation.
Buttkiss even does tricks. He comes to Gruebel’s hand because he knows that’s where the grub comes from. (Okay, so maybe it’s not the most impressive trick, but the fish is elderly! Cut him a break!) When asked if Butkiss bites, Gruebel laughs, “Well, I stick my hand in there all the time to clean the cage and he just goes and lays in the corner.”
Asked if Gruebel has done anything special to keep Buttkiss around so long, Gruebel says, “No, just feed him 20 goldfish every day, every other day depending.” So why has Buttkiss lived so long? Gruebel shrugs, “I don’t know.” And the mysteries of longevity continue…”