FAQ : Why do merfolk always take a shower when they come in from a swim?

Why do merfolk always take a shower when they come in from a swim? Wouldn’t they already be clean?

 Good Question. Fish secrete a mucous film to help them move through the water. It also protects them from bacterial infections. Merfolk are no different. In fact, Peter wonders why Penelope’s tail isn’t slimy[1] when he picks her up in Chapter 9 of Urban Mermaid[2].  What separates a mermaid’s tail from that of an actual fish is that the mucous[3] does not appear until they hit the water. When they leave the water, it rapidly dries to a fine, somewhat gritty, layer of dust. It is this gritty layer of dust that the merfolk of Colony Island wash off by taking a shower.


Feral merfolk spend most of their time in the water so there is no need to wash the dried mucous film off. This presents something of a problem when ferals decide to have a go at living on land. Getting them to understand what a shower is for and actually using it[4] is a daunting task, to say the least.


Civilised merfolk take regular showers just like the rest of us when they spend time on land.

If you’re new to all this & are wondering just what the heck is going on here, catch up by reading Urban Mermaid. It’s available from Amazon for both print & Kindel. You can save time by using the links n the sidebar to the right. Happy Reading.


[1] Ironically, the Tench Fish (Tinca tinca) is one of the slimiest ones out there. Keep in mind that ‘Tench’ is simply a family name and does not imply any genetic relationship to the Tench Fish.

[2] This is the first time Peter has ever really handled her while she was ‘entailed’. Peter does touch Penelope’s tail upon her request to do so in Chapter 2. However, it is merely to confirm that these are actual scales and not part of some kind of costume.

[3] The mucous film feels more like waterproof sunscreen than anything else. It does not, however, convey any protection from the sun.

[4] Shower fixtures in Feraltown homes have a sort of governor built in that permits the water to run for up to nine minutes. After that, the water shuts off and ferals must wait 9 minutes before the governor resets itself. Without the governor, there would be sky-high water bills in Feraltown.

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