Q: If I hold a Betta in my hand will it bite me and if so does it hurt bad?

Question submitted by Tan, Sugar Land - TX

A: Careful, it might take one or two fingers out!! LOL This cute question made me laugh, I thought it was real cute. Well, bettas did make it to #2 in the "Most Extreme" fighters countdown on Animal Planet... So I can see how one might be concerned :). OK, but seriously, bettas have teeth, and they are aggressive with other bettas. But they do not pose a threat or even slight concern to people. The real concern here is" Why would you want to hold your betta in your hand in the first place????? So let us answer this question in  two folds.

1)- Bettas can not harm people.  You are too big. When pulled out of the water they never try to bite (unlike, say, lizards). They primarily struggle to try to get back to the water (can you blame them?). There has, however been reports of bettas biting people while in the tanks/jars. Heck my bettas bite the #@%! out of my arms when I have to dive into a tank to fish out a cup or net that has just fallen in and sunk to the bottom. 100 bettas nipping at your delicate inner arm skin is no  fun. It hurts a bit. "Outch! Stop that you little devils you!" but they are only nipping because they are thinking :FOOD. Not because they are trying to hurt me. People report bettas nipping their finger tip in the jar. This is also because the betta thinks it is food and wants to taste it. Hence, bettas do bite, but not for the reason one might think, and they do not hurt (much at all).

2)- Holding your betta in your hand is a BAD idea. You should never have to hold your betta in your hand. That's why they created the fishnet ;). Avoid touching your fish at all cost. On a rare occasion it might be necessary to hand handle your fish in case an accident happened (say it fell out in a corner and you have to get it and the fishnet doesn't do the job). If so, always be VERY gentle and never EVER grab the fish or apply any pressure on to its body. And no, bettas do not enjoy being petted, so leave the darn thing alone and get yourself a hamster LOL! ;).