ANIMAL A-Z…


Learn more about our amazing animal collection. Click on a letter below to find an animal or use our animal search:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Sea bass, European (Dicentrarchus labrax)

Sea bass, European

Reaching lengths of about 1 metre, the European sea bass is a large fish, covered by large, regular scales. Depending on its origin, its colour can range from dark grey, blue or green on its back with a white or pale yellow belly. Its flanks are silver-blue or can sometimes be pale gold or bronze. As juveniles, they are paler in appearance and have dark spots on the back and upper sides but these disappear by the time the fish is about a year old.


Fun Facts...

During the spawning season, the female sea bass can produce between a quarter and half a million eggs per kilogram of her own body weight!


Location...

Found along all European coasts from northern England to northern Africa and throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea.



Habitat...

Inhabits coastal waters and estuaries around outcrops of rocks.



Diet...
Juveniles feed on invertebrates but as they mature, start eating smaller fish.

Least Concern

Seabream, Gilthead (Sparus auratus)

Seabream, Gilthead

The gilthead seabream has an oval shaped body, which is silver-grey in colour and has a distinctive gold and black band between the eyes.


Fun Facts...

The gilthead seabream is one of the most highly regarded members of the seabream family in terms of flavour and taste. They are born as male and will become female at about 3 years of age. They are a protandric hermaphrodites. 


Location...

This fish can commonly be found in the Mediterranean Sea as well as along Eastern Atlantic coasts from Great Britain to Senegal.



Habitat...

The gilthead seabream is found in both marine and brackish water environments, such as coastal lagoons and estuarine areas. This fish is usually found in areas with rocky or sandy sediments, with young fish at depths of up to 30m and adults found at depths of up to 150m.



Diet...
Mainly carnivorous and feeds on shellfish, such as mussels and oysters

Least Concern

Seahorse, Big bellied (Hippocampus abdominalis)

Seahorse, Big bellied
Seahorse, Big bellied

This seahorse gets its name from its characteristic swollen belly. It is the largest of the seahorse species, and can grow up to 35cm long. Like other species of seahorse, it has eyes that can move independently from one another and it has a tail which is capable of grasping objects.


Fun Facts...

The males look slightly different to the females, as they have longer tails and shorter snouts. It is also the males who become pregnant, not the females! 


Location...

Big-bellied seahorses are found in the southwest Pacific, around Australia and New Zealand



Habitat...

The big-bellied seahorse is typically found in harbours and sheltered coastal bays, where there are plants such as algae and seagrass present. This species may also be found in deeper waters, where there are sponges present to attach to. 



Diet...
Crustaceans, such as shrimp.

Data Deficient

Seal, Harbour (Phoca vitulina vitulina)

Seal, Harbour
Seal, Harbour
The harbour seal is also known as a common seal as they are a marine mammal commonly seen around the UK coastline.

Harbour seals are typically pale grey with darker spots or blotches. As they approach their moult, the coat may appear pale brown or tan. Harbour seals have small front flippers that are used to haul themselves out onto rocks.

There are five recognised subspecies. However only the eastern Atlantic subspecies P.vitulina vitulina occurs in Europe.
Fun Facts...
The harbour seal is one of the most widespread of the pinnipeds.
Location... The harbour seal has a range that extends from Iceland and northern Norway southwards to northern France and south-western Baltic.

This species is widespread around the shores of the UK, but population density varies greatly from place to place, with low numbers at many sites.

Harbour seals are found from Northern Ireland and the southern Firth of Clyde clockwise round the coast to the Thames estuary. The vast majority of common seal haul-outs are found on the coasts of Scotland, but with an additional important concentration on The Wash, and a smaller number in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland.


Habitat... Harbour seals will gather on shore sites which are referred to as 'haul-out' sites. Many types of habitat are adopted as haul out sites. These range from rocky shores to sand and gravel beaches, or even man made structures such as piers. Haul out sites are important sites for giving birth, nursing pups and moulting. They will also be used as a place to rest at any time of the year.

Diet...
Fish, cephalopods and crustaceans

Least Concern

Seal, South African fur (Arctocephalus pusillus)

Seal, South African fur
Seal, South African fur
The South African fur seal is the largest species of fur seal. They are covered in a thick fur which is typically a dark brown/grey on males with females and pups often lighter in colour

The South African fur seal is one of two sub-species. They are closely related to the Australian fur seals, of which, are believed to have originally derived from the South African population.
Fun Facts...
Males are up to 6 times larger than the females!

The males large size enables them to defend and mate with a 'harem' (group of females) during the breeding season. 
Location... The South African fur seal is found along the coast of Namibia and the west and south coasts of South Africa.

Breeding colonies stretch from Cape Frio in Namibia, close to the Angolan border, to Black Rocks, near Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

The population size is estimated to be 1.5-2 million, about two thirds of which are found in Namibia.


Habitat... Breeding sites tend to be on small rocky inshore islands, with large breeding coloines inhabiting rocky and sandy mainland beaches.

Diet...
Pelagic schooling fish(particularly sardines, anchovies and mackerel), cephalopods, crustaceans and the occasional marine bird.

Least Concern

Shrimp, Cleaner (Lysmata amboinensis)

Shrimp, Cleaner
Shrimp, Cleaner

Other sea-creatures will often visit this little critter in "cleaning stations" to have parasites and dead skin removed from their bodies which the shrimp eats. 

Cleaner shrimp are easy to spot as they have red and white stripes down the body and four long white antennae. The antennae are used to perform a "dance" which advertises that the shrimp is ready to clean! A relationship where both species benefit is called mutualism.


Fun Facts...

The cleaner shrimp has to be very trusting of its client; it will often clean the teeth and mouth of carnivorous fish, without being eaten!


Location...

Red Sea and Indo-Pacific ocean.



Habitat...

Shallow waters of tropical reefs.



Diet...
Scavenge on parasites and dead tissue on the bodies of many species.

Not Evaluated

Shrimp, Common (Crangon crangon)

Shrimp, Common
Shrimp, Common

The common shrimp, also know as the brown shrimp, grows up to a length of about 5cm although some have been known to grow as big as 9cm. It is brown and covered with tiny flecks and its carapace extends between the eyes into a short spine. Its abdomen is flexible and terminates in a tail fan, known as a 'telson'.


Fun Facts...

The word 'shrimp' is Middle English which may derive from the German word 'schrimpen' which means 'to shrink up' and is usually applied to small, weak things.


Location...

Common in European waters and around the coasts of Britain.



Habitat...

Occurs from the middle shore, down to submerged depths of around 150metres. It prefers muddy or sandy bottoms to help conceal itself.



Diet...
Feeds on worms, molluscs and crustaceans.

Not Evaluated

Smoothhound, Common (Mustelus mustelus)

Smoothhound, Common
Smoothhound, Common

The common smoothhound is a slender species of shark with two large dorsal fins, the first being larger than the second. It is grey or grey-brown in colouration, with a white underside and is the only smoothhound to not display any white or black spots on its skin. It has asymmetric teeth which are not particulary large or pointy but has very powerful jaws. It reaches about 2m in length and can live for around 24 years.


Fun Facts...

A baby shark is called a pup and female smoothhounds give birth to 4 - 15 live young. 


Location...

Found in the northeast Atlantic, from the British Isles to the Canary Islands, including the Mediterranean Sea and soouth along the western African coast to eastern South Africa.



Habitat...

Inhabits tidal flats, estuary mouths and shallow bays with sandy or muddy substrate. Can be found at depths of up to 350m but is usually found swimming near the sea bottom of mid-water.



Diet...
Feeds on crustaceans including hermit crabs, lobster and shrimp. Also feeds on bony fish.

Vulnerable

Smoothhound, Starry (Mustelus asterias)

Smoothhound, Starry
Smoothhound, Starry

The starry smoothhound is a slender species with two large dorsal fins, the first is larger than the second. It is very similar to the common smoothhound, apart from it is the only species of smoothhound to have white spots. These white spots however can be very faded which is why they can be commonly mistaken for the common smoothhound. The back and flanks are grey to grey-brown in colour and the spots are always white. The underside is also white and they have no dark spots or bands.


Fun Facts...

These sharks do not lay eggs like a lot of fish and give birth to live young. There is usually about 7 to 15 pups in a litter.


Location...

Found in the northeast Atlantic, from the British Isles and North Sea to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean Sea.



Habitat...

Inhabits continental and insular shelves and is commonly found on or near sand or gravel bottoms, up to depths of 100 metres.



Diet...
Feed mainly on crustaceans but will eat some fish.

Least Concern

Snail, Giant African land (Achatina spp.)

Snail, Giant African land
Snail, Giant African land
Giant African land snails have a dark reddish-brown shell with some white markings, although colouration can depend on the individuals surroundings. When snails are fully grown they can have seven to nine whorls and are narrow and conical in shape. They are the largest species of snail in the world with their shell reaching up to 20cm long. They can also live up to 10 years old. They eat up to 500 different types of plants and are therefore classed as one of the worlds most invasive species. 
Fun Facts...
Giant land snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that one snail is both male and female.

Clutches of eggs can reach up to numbers of 1000!

During periods of drought, the land snail will go into a 'summer sleep' called aestivation and will seal themselves in their shell to prevent drying out. 
Location... Is native mainly to East Africa, but has been introduced to other parts of Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, Asia, the Caribbean and Australia!

Habitat... The Giant African land snail can live in many areas, mostly humid, forest areas but can also be found in coast land, planted forest, shrub lands and even urban areas. 

Diet...
Vegetables and fruits, they also need a calcium source

Not Evaluated

Snail, Turbo (Astraea tecta)

Snail, Turbo

The turbo snail, also known as the astraea snail, can be identified by its conical shell with prounounced ridges circling it. It can grow to about 4 cm in height and is coloured either orange, purple or olive green. The colour is usually due to algae that grows on the shell. 


Fun Facts...

If this snail is dislodged or falls and lands on its back, they cannot right themselves. They need help from the current or passers by to help nudge them the right way up!


Location...

Found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.



Habitat...

Inhabits reefs and gravel bottoms where there is a lot of algae present.



Diet...
Grazes on algae and other plant matter.

Not Evaluated

Snake, Corn (Pantherophis guttatus)

Snake, Corn
Snake, Corn
The corn snake is also known as the 'red rat snake'. They are constrictors, therefore are not venomous. There are a variety of colours; brown, grey, reddish-brown and orange and have alternating rows of black and pale marks on their bellies, resembling a checkerboard pattern. Albino corn snakes can also be found. 
Fun Facts...
They have over 100 teeth, which point backwards down the throat to minimise the chance of food escaping from them. 
 
Location... It is not very likely to find corn snakes in the wild but they do thrive in captivity. In the wild they are found in eastern and southern central United States and northern Mexico. They are abundant in Florida.

Habitat... Deciduous forests are preferential, and rocky regions where crevices and logs provide good nesting opportunities. They are often found in fields, grassy areas and suburban areas. 

Diet...
Carnivorous. Rodents and other small mammals.

Least Concern

Soldierfish, Black Bar (Myripristis jacobus)

Soldierfish, Black Bar
Soldierfish, Black Bar
This fish has a silvery red body and very large, prominent eyes. It can be identified by the black and red bar behind the head, hence the name. The dorsal fin has white marks at the tips and it can grow up to 25cm long. It is a nocturnal species, hiding between corals and in caves during the day.  
Fun Facts...
This species sometimes can be found swimming upside down. The soldierfish's large eyes make them excellent night hunters!
Location... Found in the Western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Brazil and throughout the West Indies and Caribbean. Also found in the Eastern Atlantic, from Cape Verde to St Helena Islands.

Habitat... Inhabits shallow coral reefs and offshore deeper waters, to depths of around 100m.

Diet...
Feeds on planktonic organisms

Not Evaluated

Squirrelfish, Striped (Sargocentron xantherythrum)

Squirrelfish, Striped
Squirrelfish, Striped

This vividly beautiful fish are so called for their nocturnal nature and bright red colouration, with horizontal white or silver stripes. They reach about 17cm in length and have very sharp gill spines and rough scales which often causes them to get snagged in fishing nets. They are a very social fish and are usually found in large schools. 


Fun Facts...

Most squirrelfish are able to make sounds by vibrating their swim bladders. These noises are used to communicate danger to other squirrelfish and also to warn off other fish that threaten it. 


Location...

Found in the Indo-Pacific with a large population found around Hawaii.



Habitat...

Usually inhabits caves and ledges in coral reefs during the day.



Diet...
Carnivorous: Crustaceans, worms and starfish.

Not Evaluated

Starfish, Blue finger (Linckia laevigata)

Starfish, Blue finger
Starfish, Blue finger

This species of starfish (or seastar as they should be known) has a bright blue or light blue body. Very occasionally, they can also be green, pink, yellow or red! The colour varies depending on the ratio and combination of certain pigments. They are largely nocturnal and can be found hiding in rocks during the day. It has five cylindrical arms with rounded tips and grows to about 40cm in diameter. 


Fun Facts...

If starfish are attacked by a predator, they can detach their arms and regenerate new ones! Starfish invert their stomachs and digest their food externally! They can locate food using their tube feet which function as chemoreceptors. This species is chemically defended from many fish predators as they possess chemical defence compounds called saponins.


Location...

Located in the Indo-Pacific, from the western Indian Ocean to southeastern Polynesia. 



Habitat...

Lives in a wide variety of habitats in tropical waters.



Diet...
Mainly scavengers, but also seen to feed upon algae.

Not Evaluated

Starfish, Chocolate chip (Protoreaster nodosus)

Starfish, Chocolate chip
Starfish, Chocolate chip

The chocolate chip starfish is rather stout with short, thick arms. Its central disc can reach a diameter of 12cm and each arm is about 14cm in length. They vary in colour from white, yellow, and brown to red and blue. They get their name from the round or pointy 'chocolate chip' markings that are usually dark brown or grey.


Fun Facts...

The chocolate chip sea star was one of the first animals to be given a scientific name. It was named by Carl Linnaneus himself, (the zoologist who is dubbed as 'father of taxonomy' - the system used to classify and name animals).


Location...

Commonly found in many parts of the Indo-Pacific, from eastern Africa to Indonedia then North to southern Japan and south to the northern coast of Australia.



Habitat...

Inhabits mostly sandy to muddy lagoons and seagrass beds in shallow water.



Diet...
Feeds on sponge, soft corals, bivalves and snails, as well as other invertebrates.

Not Evaluated

Starfish, Common (Asterias rubens)

Starfish, Common
Starfish, Common

The common starfish or common sea star is the most frequent and familiar starfish in the north-east Atlantic. It has five arms and usually grows to between 10 to 30cm across, although larger specimens of up to 52cm across have been found! The common starfish is usually orange or brown and sometimes violet; those found in deep-water are often paler in colour.


Fun Facts...

If starfish are attacked by a predator, they can detach their arms and regenerate new ones!


Location...

Widespread around the coasts of the British Isles.



Habitat... The common starfish is well adapted for a wide variety of substrates, including coarse and shelly gravel and rock. 

Diet...
Mainly feed on molluscs, especially bivalves and snails. Also scavenge on dead sea-creatures.

Not Evaluated

Starfish, Spiny (Marthasterias glacialis)

Starfish, Spiny
Starfish, Spiny

The spiny starfish is a large species reaching lengths of 70cm across, from arm to arm. It has 5 narrow arms with 3 longitudinal spines along each, giving it its common name. The spines are usually white in colour, with purple tips and the body and arms are brown, grey, yellow, reddish or green in colour with with purple tips to the arms. 


Fun Facts...

To eat the starfish expands its stomach which appears to come out of the starfish, along with the enzymes used for digestion. It then sucks up its already digested food!


Location...

Found in the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, North Sea and Mediterranean Sea.



Habitat...

Inhabits sheltered muddy or rocky bottoms to fully exposed rockfaces.



Diet...
Feeds on molluscs, shellfish and fish.

Not Evaluated

Stick insect, Macleays spectre (Extatosoma tiaratum)

Stick insect, Macleays spectre
Stick insect, Macleays spectre
The macleays spectre stick insect, also known as the giant prickly stick insect, can reach up to 15cm long. They can be a variety of colours such as browns, green, yellow, lichen and even silver. Females are larger than males and have a wider body covered in spikes used for defense. Females do not have wings, whereas males possess long, thin wings, which are their form of defense. Males also use their wings to travel in order to find a mate. 
Fun Facts...
The females abdomen mimicks that of a scorpion, when threatened the stick insect will raise up their abdomen giving the impression of a scorpion ready to strike. 

Females can lay 300-1000 eggs in a lifetime. 
Location... These impressive insects are found in Australia and New Guinea. 

Habitat... These insects prefer tropical rainforests and grasslands. Adults prefer high temperatures ranging around 24 degrees. Nymphs prefer warm temperatures with a high humidity. 

Diet...
Eucalyptus, hazel, hawthorn, rose, raspberry, bramble and oak.

Not Evaluated

Stick insect, Vietnamese (Ramulus artemis)

Stick insect, Vietnamese
Stick insect, Vietnamese
Vietnamese stick insects can grow up to 12cm long, and look like perfect small green or brown twigs. They even sway when they walk, looking like a twig in caught in a breeze.

Although their main defence is camouflage, they also have a small spike on the rear of their bodies that they can use in defence.

If there are no males about, the females can lay eggs on their own, that even without being fertilised, will hatch out. This is called parthenogenesis. The offspring will all be female and direct clones of their mum.
Fun Facts...
If they lose a leg, they can regnerate it during their next moult!
Location... Found in China and India

Habitat... Tropical forests

Diet...
Rose, hazel, oak, blackberry and raspberry leaves

Not Evaluated

Sturgeon, Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)

Sturgeon, Sterlet
Sturgeon, Sterlet

This sturgeon can grow to about 125cm in length and weigh up to 16kg. Its back and flanks are beige, yellowish or grey in colour and it has whitish lateral scutes (spiny scales) down each side. It has a narrow, pointed snout with four long and fringed barbels.


Fun Facts...

It is from these fish and other sturgeons that we get the food cavier, which is actually the eggs of this fish.


Location...

Found in the rivers of Eurasia, draining to the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas.



Habitat...

Inhabits rivers and tributaries usually with strong currents and deep water. Feeds in flooded areas.



Diet...
Feeds on crustaceans, worms and insect larvae.

Vulnerable
TODAY AT RHYL...

OPEN: Daily from 10.00am.
LAST ADMISSION: 4.00pm
CLOSES: 5.00pm

ADMISSION:
Adult - £9.50 (16-64yrs)
Child - £8.50 (3-15yrs)
Under 3's - Free
Concessions - £8.99
(Senior Citizen, Disabled, Student).

See our Opening Times & Prices page for further info.
HO! HO! HO! IT’S OFF TO THE GROTTO WE GO!

Santa and his helpers are putting the finishing touches to his grotto and fattening up the reindeer ready for their long journey to SeaQuarium Rhyl. 

MORE]

FREE Activity Booklet!

During your visit to the SeaQuarium, don’t forget to take part in our free children’s activity booklet.
Pick up a booklet, find the answers to the questions around SeaQuarium and play some fun games along the way! Children will even receive a sticker at the end of their visit when shown to a member of staff!

Keep In Touch