Our Amazing Ocean Creatures


Let’s learn about our incredible ocean animals

When you think that 70 per cent of the Earth is made up of oceans, it’s not surprising that our seas are home to more than 230,000 different species… that we know about.

Humans have only explored about five per cent of our oceans, and scientists think we’ve found and named about 10 per cent of the life beneath our waves, which could mean there are still around 2 million species we haven’t studied yet!

There are so many weird and wonderful creatures living under the ocean, from the angry-looking anglerfish that lives deep below the icy waters of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans dangling a glow-in-the-dark lure to catch its prey, to the weird Wobbegong, a flat, bottom-dwelling shark that looks like a carpet and lays and waits for its prey like a rug on the bottom of the warm Pacific ocean.

There are plenty of ocean animals we know and love though. From the world’s largest mammal – the gigantic blue whale – to super-cute sea otters and waddling penguins – there’s so much to learn about the ocean animals you can see without a submarine or a PhD in marine biology.

Beneath the waves

Underwater creatures can be fish, reptiles, micro-organisms like plankton, molluscs like sea snails, or mammals, like whales and dolphins. Sharks may look like dolphins, so you could think they were mammals (animals that need air to breathe) but they’re actually fish. But unlike fish, sharks don’t have bones, they have a tough, rubbery substance called cartilage – feel the top part of your ear and that’s what a shark’s insides feel like!

There are lots of different species within each group – for example, there are around 36 species of dolphins in the world, living in temperatures as low as 0C and as warm as 30C. You can spot dolphins off the cost of Britain, particularly in west Wales, eastern Scotland, north Yorkshire and Devon and Cornwall. Many are so used to people, you can swim in amongst them!

On the beach

Some creatures prefer to spend most of their day on land, only venturing into the water to hunt for food. Mammals like seals and sea lions – that belong to a family of mammals called pinnipeds - can often be spotted lounging in the sunshine, snoozing off their last meal. Seals live mainly in cold places, like the Arctic and Antarctic, and you can see them around the cost of Britain, particularly off the coast of Scotland. Sea lions are often found in warmer waters, though there are species all over the world, from the Falkland Islands to the coast of Japan.

On the rocks

Sea birds make up a huge chunk of marine life and there are so many incredible species to look out for. From the 18 kinds of penguin that survive in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, to the tiny puffin – nicknamed sea parrots or the clowns of the sea – burrowing in the ground to build their nests, there are so many incredible species to learn about. About 350 in fact! How many can you spot next time you’re visiting the coast?

Want an ocean friend to call your own? Check out the Living Nature range here.