6 Fascinating Sea Animals
Marine animals are probably the most interesting but the least known. So we made a list of some of our favourite sea creatures with interesting facts about them. All of these can be found around the South African coast.
1. Ragged-tooth Shark
The Ragged-tooth shark or as it is fondly called 'Raggie', has unmistakable 'ragged' teeth giving these docile sharks a fearsome appearance. They are however a slow-moving shark with no confirmed human fatalities.
Ragged-tooth sharks are more closely related to great white sharks than tiger sharks.
Unlike other sharks that rely on a swim bladder and a large oily liver to maintain their buoyancy in the water, Raggies surface to take great gulps of air into their stomachs, which allows them to stay buoyant in the water with little effort.
Once the pups leave the womb, they are entirely independent of their mother.
Sharks play a vital role in the ecosystem and we are part of the efforts to protect them through Sharklife Conservation and SharkSafe Barrier. Meet these gentle beauties on one of our Shark & Dive Tours.
2. Cape Fur Seal
One of SA's coastlines famous attractions. These curious animals are like puppies in the water happily interacting with snorkelers and divers.
Cape fur seals feed on shoaling fish, squid, octopus, sharks, and rays.
They can dive to depths of over 200m and hold their breath for up to 7.5min.
They generally hunt alone but can form hunting parties of up to 15 individuals.
They are very active and social in the water and territorial on land.
Cape fur seals have been protected in South Africa since 1893 but were still commercially harvested until the 1990s.
Join us on a magical False Bay Sea Safari where you can see a colony of over 60 000 seals.
3. Sea Turtles
Turtles live all over the world in almost every type of climate. They rarely leave the ocean, except to lay eggs in the sand.
They think jellyfish are delicious.
They're the oceans' lawnmowers, protecting other marine animals by keeping the seagrass short.
They cannot retract into their shell-like other turtles.
Temperature dictates the sex of baby turtles.
They can hold their breath for five hours underwater.
For some divers, they are just a colorful little sea slug to look at and for others, it’s become a hobby on its own to spot nudies like a pro.
Here are some interesting facts about Nudibranchs you perhaps never knew:
Nudibranch comes from the Latin word ‘nudus’ and the Greek word ‘brankhia,’ meaning ‘naked’ and ‘gills’ respectively. This makes sense because the little flower-type protrusions on the back of the nudibranch are the exposed (naked) gills.
There are more than 6,000 species of nudibranchs. They are found in tropical and temperate seas as well as Antarctica, although they are most common in the shallows they are found to the depth of 2500m.
Nudibranchs don't have eyes; they smell their world through their Rhinophores ('Rhino' means nose). Located on their head, they are used for taste and smell.
All sea slugs are hermaphrodites meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. They lay their eggs in egg cases or egg masses, bound together by mucus. The number of eggs per case varies between species, they have a short life span from 1 month to 1 year.
Nudibranchs get their color from the food they eat.
The Octopus is a fascinating creature, being shy and aloof, if not busy hunting you will usually find them hiding in holes.
They have three hearts and blue blood.
They squirt ink to deter predators.
They can squeeze into tight spaces because they are boneless.
They are quite intelligent and have been observed using tools.
Their suckers have receptors that enable them to taste what they are touching.
Worldwide coastal habitat depletion, pollution, and rampant harvesting, mainly for use in Asian traditional medicine, have made several species vulnerable to extinction.
One seahorse can scarf down up to 3,000 brine shrimp per day.
They mate for life.
Males carry babies.
Mated pairs will be seen swimming with tails linked, their version of holding hands.
Their eyes work independently of one another.
They have unique identifying markings. A small crown, called a coral net, is different on each seahorse.
Yes, they are fish: They have a swim bladder for buoyancy, gills to breathe, and fins to help them swim.
Education is the first step in conservation.
We protect what we love, be part of the movement!
by Mari van Wyk