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Kiddies Corner!

Here are some interesting details and facts about marine life for our younger visitors!

The most common turtle found in Irish waters is the leatherback turtle, these can grow up to 2 meters (6.6feet) in length and can weigh up to 750 kilograms. At the aquarium we have Loggerhead turtles these are warm water turtles and cannot survive in the cold waters of Ireland. Our two turtles Dylan and Omey are in our Tropical Reef display where the water is heated to 23 degrees.

Clown fish (also called the Clown Anemonefish) are small fish that live among anemone (fish-eating animals that look like undersea flowers and have hundreds of poisonous tentacles).

Most of you will know the Clownfish from the Disney Pixar film "Finding Nemo". This brightly-coloured fish is orange with three white vertical stripes; the rounded fins have black margins. The Clown fish grows to be about 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 cm) long. The Clown fish lives on the sea floor amid anemone tentacles. It inhabits the warm waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The Clownfish eat the anemone's leftover food. It also eats dead anemone tentacles and plankton.

Seahorses are a type of small fish that have armored plates all over their body (they don't have scales). There are about 50 different species of seahorses around the world. They live in seaweed beds in warm water and are very slow swimmers. Seahorses can change their colour to camouflage themselves in order to hide from enemies.

Seahorses have the head of a horse, the tail of a monkey and it's the male who has the babies!! The female seahorse produces eggs, but they are held inside the male's body until they hatch; he is pregnant for about 40 to 50 days. The seahorse is the only animal in which the father is pregnant.

Bottlenose Dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins are small, toothed whales that have a long, beaklike snout, a sickle-shaped dorsal fin, and sharp teeth. Dolphins breathe air through a single blowhole. They grow to be at most 12 feet (3.3 m) long. Dolphins live in small groups of up to 12 ; these groups are called pods. Bottlenose dolphins have a life span of about 35 - 40 years. Dolphins swim by moving their tail up and down. Fish swim by moving their tail left and right. Bottlenose dolphins are hunters who find their prey at the surface of the water, eating mostly fish and squid.

Bottlenose Dolphins are found in both temperate and tropical oceans throughout the world. Some sharks will prey upon dolphins. Dolphins are also often trapped in people's fishing nets. Dolphins are exceptionally playful creatures, often seen leaping out of the water purely for fun. They are very friendly creatures.

Fungi the Dingle Dolphin is a bottlenose Dolphin, Fungi can be seen in the harbour of Dingle Bay.

Sharks are the most feared and perhaps the most misunderstood creatures in the ocean. These magnificent creatures have been on the planet for over 500 million years. They have skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone, the same material we have in our noses and ears. Most sharks swim constantly, forcing water through their mouth and gill rakers, which pull out the oxygen - this is how they breathe. Shark skin feels like sandpaper. Eggs are laid in the form of a "mermaid's purse", transparent cases that allow you to see the baby shark inside. These take an average of 10 months to hatch.

Sharks have a very good sense of smell. They also have several rows of teeth designed for ripping and tearing, their teeth replace themselves every 10 days or so. Sharks have unfairly earned a reputation as killing machines, eating everything in sight, including humans. Only a few of the 250 species of shark have ever been know to attack man, it is usually a case of mistaken identity - a person on a surfboard looks very much like a seal from a shark's point of view.

For every 10 people attacked by sharks, over 10,000 sharks are killed by people. They are usually hunted for their fins, as shark fin soup is a delicacy in the Orient.

There are over 30 types of shark found in Irish Waters:
Porbeagle, Basking, Thresher, Shortfin Mako, Blue, Tope, Six-gilled, Bull Huss, Dogfish, Smooth Hound and Spurdog. In deeper water you might find: Longnose, Velvet Dogfish, Black Dogfish, Velvet Belly, Great Lanternshark, Iceland Catshark, Mouse Catshark and Greenland Shark.

Sea stars (also known as starfish) are spiny, hard-skinned animals that live on the rocky sea floor. Starfish are NOT fish; they are echinoderms. Sea stars move very slowly along the sea bed, using hundreds of tiny tube feet. There are over 2,000 different species of sea stars worldwide.

Starfish are carnivores (meat-eaters). They eat clams, oysters, coral, fish, and other animals. They push their stomach out through their mouth (located on the underside of the sea star) and digest the prey.

Most sea stars have five arms. Starfish do not have a brain; they have a simple ring of nerve cells that moves information around the body. Eyespots (primitive light sensors) are at the tip of each arm. If a sea star's arm is cut off, it will regenerate (regrow).

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dingle oceanworld mara beo
Dingle Oceanworld (Mara Beo)

The Wood (An Choill), Dingle (An Daingean), Co. Kerry (Co. Chiarraí), Ireland (Éire)
Tel: +353 (0)66 91 52 111 • Fax: +353 (0)66 91 52 155 • Email: marabeo@iol.ie
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