The National Sea Life Centre Bray has over 30+ spectacular displays including: Rivers of the World, Giant Pacific Octopus, Nemo's Kingdom and a Tropical Shark Lagoon.
If you've ever wondered what lives in the rockpools around the Irish coast, this is the place to find out. You'll get the chance to get really close and even touch, hold and learn about some of the wonderful creatures that live there. These include crabs, starfish and anemones.
Everything in theTouch Pool from the rocks to the creatures is safe to handle. The rockpool experts will show you how. They will also tell you all about how they survive and what they eat.
The Common Stingray at the National Sea Life Centre in Bray is a 10 year old female called Ali. Her.natural range would be the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Ali is quite a character and likes to "show off" to visitors by splashing around and "dancing". Stingrays are closely related to sharks, having evolved from sharks millions of years ago. Stingrays have flat, disk shaped bodies and keep themselves safe from predators by burying themselves in the sand. Unfortunately this sometimes results in people getting stung due to swimmers not seeing them and accidently stepping on them.
Black Tip Reef Shark
The Tropical Shark Lagoon is home to two female Black tip Reef Sharks called Betty and Wilma. Black Tip Reef Sharks inhabit tropical coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They are a relatively small species of shark, growing to a maximum size of 1.8metres in length. The sharks in Bray are 7 years old and currently measure 1.5metres in length. Black Tip Reef sharks give birth to live young and generally give birth to between 2-4 pups. At birth the average length of their pups is 30cm. The Blacktip Reef shark is one of only a few sharks that can jump fully out of the water, a behaviour called 'breaching'. They have also been observed surfacing to look around an action called 'spy-hopping'.
The National Sea Life Centre is home to both Big Bellied and Common Seahorses. Seahorses can be found in shallow waters all over the world. Seahorses range in size from 16 millimetres (the recently discovered Hippocampus denise) to 35 centimetres. With Seahorses it's the males who have the babies! The female Seahorse creates the eggs then transfers them to the males pouch where he fertilises them and then goes through a 1-2 month pregnancy (depending on the species) after which he will give birth to anything from 100-1,500 babies. The seahorse is one of the most amazing and unique creatures of marine fauna. Unfortunately, 33 of the 35 species of seahorses are listed as 'Vulnerable' on the IUCN Redlist of threatened creatures due to large population declines over the last 10 years.
Giant Pacific Octopus
The giant Pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopus species. The size record is held by a specimen that was 30 feet (9.1 meters) across and weighed more than 600 pounds (272 kilograms). Averages are more like 16 feet (5 meters) and 110 lbs (50 kilograms). They live to be about four years old, with both males and females dying soon after breeding. Females live long enough to tend fastidiously to their eggs, but they do not eat during this months-long brooding period, and usually die soon afterwards. Giant Pacific octopuses have huge, bulbous heads and are generally reddish-brown in color. Like the other members of the octopus family, though, they use special pigment cells in their skin to change colors and textures, and can blend in with even the most intricately patterned corals, plants, and rocks.
They hunt at night, surviving primarily on shrimp, clams, lobsters, and fish, but have been known to attack and eat sharks as well as birds, using their sharp, beaklike mouths to puncture and tear flesh. They range throughout the temperate waters of the Pacific, from southern California to Alaska, west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan. Highly intelligent creatures, giant Pacific octopuses have learned to open jars, mimic other octopuses, and solve mazes in lab tests. Their population numbers are unknown, and they do not currently appear on any lists of endangered or vulnerable animals. However, they are sensitive to environmental conditions and may be suffering from high pollution levels in their range.
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