Water occupies more than 70% of the earth’s surface. Understandably, oceans are home for numerous water animals. Just five percent of the earth’s oceans have been explored so far, and we already know about 230,000 water animal species. Marine life is not just adventurous, it is full of surprises! These water animals are a houseful of fun, information, and mystery. To get you acquainted with these surprises, MomJunction has compiled a few amazing and fun water animals information and facts for your enthusiastic little diver.
1. What Are Water Animals?
Water or aquatic animals are either vertebrate or invertebrate animals, which live in water all through or most of their lives. These animals may breathe air through lungs or gills by extracting the oxygen that is dissolved in water.
2. Types Of Water Animals:
Water animals living in freshwater are called freshwater animals and those living in saltwater bodies such as sea, oceans, etc., are called marine animals.
3. Varieties Of Water Animals:
i, Sea turtles have been on earth far earlier than 220 million years and have survived extreme weather changes, which wiped out even the dinosaurs. The female sea turtles can return to the same beach that they were born in even after 30 years. (1)
One of the few animals with blue blood, Octopuses are considered the most intelligent of all the invertebrates. Scientific studies are increasingly confirming that they are sentient creatures. (2)
ii, Seahorses are unique in a way that the male carries the babies, instead of the female. The female deposits her eggs in a pouch in the male. The mating ritual includes dancing and intertwining the tails. Pregnancy lasts for two to five weeks with just one percent of offspring surviving to reach adulthood. (3)
iii, Blue whales are the largest animals and have evolved from the hippopotamus. They are an endangered species with just 4,500 left on the planet. They can swim up to five miles an hour, but on sensing danger, they can speed up to 30 miles an hour. The best part about blue whales is that they can sleep while swimming with half its brain functioning. (4)
iv, Dolphins, one of the most beautiful, intelligent, and friendly water animals, are the only mammals that are born tail first. They take care of and nurture old or hurt members in a group, and the young ones live with their mothers until they are three years old. (5)
v, Electric eels belong to knife fish family and are one of the 500 fishes that can produce electricity. The skin of the eel insulates it from its electric attack, but if the eel is wounded it could shock itself. The electric shock of an eel is powerful enough to knock down a horse and can prove fatal to a human. Some eels produce enough electricity to light ten bulbs! (6)
vi, Jellyfish are one of the oldest aquatic organisms and came into existence even before the dinosaurs. They have been around for 500 to 700 million years. Some species possess light-sensitive organs and can glow in the dark. The jellyfish does not have bones, brain, heart, and head. (7)
[ Read: Jellyfish Facts For Kids ]
vii, Oysters can change genders depending on the mating situation. They can also change back to their original genders! (8)
viii, Great white shark is one of the most well-known species of the water animals and the largest predators in the oceans. Sharks may attack humans, but they don’t eat them as humans lack fat. Great Whites in South Africa are famous for their majestic jumps from water. Male sharks mature when they turn ten while females mature when they turn 15. Females give birth to two to ten sharks after a year of pregnancy. Baby sharks care for themselves from the moment they are born; parent sharks don’t exhibit parental care. (9)
ix, Piranha means fish tooth, and they possess powerful jaw bone and pointed sharp teeth. They have extremely sensitive organs that help them detect blood in oceans just like the sharks. Piranhas are not only omnivorous but also cannibals, with an insatiable appetite for blood. (10)
x, Cuttlefish is a slow swimmer, and swims by emitting out a large quantity of water from its mantle. The phenomenon is known as jet propulsion, and it aids cuttlefish in escaping predators. They also release ink to escape from shark and large fishes. Cuttlefish was widely used as source of ink in ancient times. (11)
xii, Walrus, being mammals, can easily stay under water for 30 minutes without having to come to the surface to breathe. They are incredibly protective of one another and would rush to help any walrus under attack. (12)
xiii, Starfish can change their gender at any time, reproduce sexually or asexually, and in sexual reproduction, the females produce millions of eggs. Though most starfish have only five arms, some could have about 20 to 40 arms as well. They can regenerate a body part within a year. (13)
xiv, Giant squids are one of the most mysterious animals and live at depths of 2000 to 3000 feet in the oceans. Information on giant squids depends entirely on the carcasses found at beaches. They don’t hunt predators but ambush them. Some produce luminescent inks to escape predators. (14)
xv, Dugong is popular as ‘sea cow’ and is one of the few vegetarian aquatic mammals. They survive only on sea grass and can consume about 88 pounds of seaweed every day. They are a vulnerable species that need protection and are put up in various sanctuaries across the world. (15)
[ Read: Whale Facts For Kids ]
4. How Do Water Animals Breathe?
How do water animals breathe underwater and what if there were no oxygen to breathe?
A few large or very small animals living in moist environments breathe through the skin. The exchange of gasses takes place through the skin and is called an integumentary exchange. Animals living in water have gills, which are extensions of their outer membranes and contain very thin cells designed to allow gas exchange as the water passes through them.
5. What Do Water Animals Eat?
Water Animals eat a variety of foods. Animals like corals, sponges, and whales eat small crustaceans called plankton. Ocean fishes have different feeding habits. Usually, most ocean fishes eat each other and eat crustaceans like shrimp, crabs, and krill. They also feed on algae, kelp, plankton, detritus, and cephalopods like octopus and squid, besides echinoderms like sea urchins. A few ocean fishes are scavengers and feed on the carcasses of other marine animals.
6. Which Ocean Animals Eat Plants?
Many marine animals are carnivores. But a few such as sea turtles, manatees, and dugongs, are specialized in feeding on underwater plants. Marine fishes such as marbled parrotfish are primarily herbivorous. They graze on algae and seagrass in nearshore waters. Other species like surgeonfish and pinfish directly feed on seagrasses.
[ Read: Sea Turtle Facts For Kids ]
7. How Do Water Animals Survive In The Ocean?
Marine organisms have adapted to diverse habitats and environmental conditions in oceans. They have made several physiological, behavioral, and structural adaptations for survival. Morphological or structural adaptations were made to suit and survive in a particular habitat. Physiological adaptations made by sea animals are more related to the way their body metabolism works. Water animals have learnt several behavioral adaptations to survive and escape from predators.
8. Potential Threat To Water Animals
Due to the fragility of the environments in which they live, conservationists often have a special concern for water animals. Aquatic animals are prone to pressures like destructive fishing, overfishing, climate change, and marine pollution which comes from land and air. Harsh chemicals, which pollute water, show devastating effects on marine species.
Fun Water Animal Facts For Kids
- Dolphins are so clever that they sleep with one eye open and half their brain awake, to keep a watch on predators and threats.
- The blue whales call at 188 decibels, which is the largest sound produced by any animal on earth.
- The octopus has three hearts.
- Turtles probably do not like Antarctica. Except there, they live on every other continent.
- Sea sponges live without head, eyes, mouth, bones, feelers, lungs, heart, or brain.
- The heart of a shrimp is located in its head.
- Catfish has a big swimming tongue with nearly 100,000 individual taste buds all through the body and is as good as a big tongue swimming in the ocean.
- The loggerhead turtle’s head keeps growing bigger as it gets older.
- Great white sharks can consume a sea lion in a single meal.
[ Read: Great White Shark Facts For Kids ]
- Sperm whales are the only predators of the giant squid.
- Even though dolphins have 100 teeth, they swallow their prey in a single piece without chewing.
- Leatherback turtle can travel 12,000 miles efficiently.
- About a 100 humans can fit inside the mouth of a blue whale. But this humble creature eats only small fishes.
- Moray eels keep opening and closing their mouths as a part of respiration. They are just breathing.
- The male barnacle must use a really long reproductive part to meet its mate.
- Pompeii worms live on volcanic vents located 2,500 meters below the surface of oceans. They die if brought to the surface.
- Anguilla eels can leave water and slither on land for a short period of time.
- Crabs’ teeth are located in their stomachs.
- Seahorses utter muscular sounds at the time of mating.
- Sailfish use their sail to look bright and intimidating when they are frightened.
- Dugongs are related to elephants.
- Sea stars live on sea floor. They are the only animals with feet on their arms.
The oceans and seas are full of fabulous animals, each with their unique features. There are a lot of other animals than just a few listed here! Tell us your kid’s favorites too.
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