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Feb 28, 2005
Myth: Holding a fish will burn their skin

The Myth:
Since our body temp is 98.6 on average, and a fish is only as warm as it's water at around 78, by us touching them or holding them our body heat will burn them.

The Truth:
"You do want to minimize holding fish...not because of the temperature differential (although I did find that amusing...thats a new one) but because of the loss of protective slime which coats the fish...sometimes its unavoidable, like when eggs or fry need to be stripped....but nonetheless, try to minimize contact...except when you pet your oscar...some like that...." - YoFishboy

"Just a note to confirm--trout hatcheries handle fish frequently. The brood stock must be spawned manually in order to collect the eggs for incubation. These are coldwater fish (meaning a much greater difference in temperature), and I've yet to see one get burned. Handling the fish too much can indeed remove the slime coating and increase the odds of an infection, but simple, gentle contact with clean hands won't hurt the fish at all.

Fish can be burned, though. Fish that spend lots of time hiding around or near the heater in your tank should be checked for burns--happens more than we'd like." - OrionGirl

"what your friend said just goes against common sense. if it was true, we'd never be able to handle other coldblooded creatures like snakes or frogs, and i think if a snake was burned by being picked up it would let you know real quick." - wataugachicken

Original thread can be found here: