Blue Reef Aquarium Portsmouth

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Creatures

There’s a world of underwater adventure just waiting to be discovered at the award winning Blue Reef Aquarium.

Enjoy close encounters with graceful sharks and rays. Stroll among the colourful inhabitants of a coral reef in a spectacular underwater tunnel.  Meet our family of adorable otters in their riverside home and come face to face with some of the world’s most amazing amphibians from deadly poison dart frogs to curious iguanas.

More than 40 living displays bring the wonders of the aquatic world to life.  With informative talks and feeding demonstrations the aquarium is a spectacular experience whatever the weather.

 

Undulate Ray

Undulate Ray

Rays belong to the same family as sharks and are effectively ‘flattened-out’ versions of their close cousins.  UK waters are home to at least 15 different species including the electric ray and the common skate, which can reach lengths of up to three metres.

Found throughout European waters, the undulate ray can grow up to 100cm in length, live for around 20 years and is known for the striking patterns on its back.

The undulate ray is oviparous, which means that it lays eggs, and it has been known to produce huge numbers of them. One specimen was recorded as having laid no fewer than 88 eggs over a 77-day period.

Black Tip Reef Sharks

Black Tip Reef Sharks

Carcharhinus melanopterus

These predators can grow up to almost 2 metres in length.

Closely related to Tiger and Bull sharks they live and hunt on Coral Reefs.

They give birth to live young which can hunt as soon as they are born.

Sharks and Rays

Sharks and Rays

The sea around your country is home to up to 130 different types of sharks and their cousins the skates, rays and chimaeras.  Here at Blue Reef we have many species of shark , one of our largest is the Black Tip Reef Shark.  Closely related to the Tiger and Bull sharks, they live and hunt on coral reefs.  They give birth to live young which can hunt as soon as they are born.

The first sharks patrolled our seas 400 million years ago – 100 million years before the dinosaurs first appeared.

Sharks’ skeletons are not made from bone, but are made from cartilage – the same stuff that our ears and noses are built of. Rays are members of the same family as sharks, and are actually just a flattened version of them, with certain crucial differences.

Sharks have more to fear from humans than we do from them, more people die each year from falling coconuts than from shark attacks, whereas around 70 million sharks are killed worldwide annually by humans, some are caught accidentally, but some are killed for food.

We have lots of other different and wonderful species of shark and rays at Blue Reef Portsmouth.

Here are some quick facts:

  • In 2007 only one person was killed by a shark worldwide.  Tens of millions of sharks, skates and rays are killed by people each year!
  • Sharks first appeared in our seas 400 million years ago – that’s a 100 million years before the dinosaurs!
  • The largest shark in the world is the Whale shark which can grow up to 18metres
  • Shark’s egg cases are called “Mermaids Purses” this is because sailors and pirates thought the yolk was a gold coin!
  • Baby sharks are called pups!
  • You are more likely to be killed by a vending machine then a shark!

 

  • Habitat: Coral Reefs
  • Where in the world: South African costal
  • Food: Reef fish, cephalopods
  • Maximum Size: 2 metres
  • Conservation Status: Lower risk / near threatened
Southern Stingray

Southern Stingray

Dasyatis Americana

This elegant stingray is mainly nocturnal and buries itself in the sand during the day. Its sting is actually a modified dermal denticle (skin-tooth) which is both serrated and venomous.

They eat crsutaceans, molluscs and small fish and can grow to have wingspan of 2 metres. They can be found in the tropical and subtropical western Atlantic and the Caribbean.

Otters

Otters

Otters are among the most enchanting and graceful aquatic mammals in the world – perfectly adapted to life above and below the water.

Our innovative indoor freshwater display offers spacious naturally themed surroundings for a family of Asian short claw otters while also providing amazing views of these stunning creatures.

As otters are highly intelligent and inquisitive animals we also provide them with a variety of objects, tasks and play items as part of an ongoing environmental enrichment programme.

Predators

Predators

There’s Danger in the Depths at Blue Reef Portsmouth.

The world’s oceans may seem peaceful places but they’re really battlefields where only the smartest and strongest survive.  The mysterious depths are home to many strange and terrifying creatures.

This sinister trail brings you face to face with a host of dangerous characters including stinging jellyfish, venomous lionfish and speedy sharks. Discover the hunting skills of the marine world’s predators. Some use high-speed attacks, while others lay in wait for their victims using camouflage to keep themselves hidden.

Sonic booms, electricity, missiles, chemical weapons and even fishing rods are also utilized in the never-ending battle for survival. Don’t miss ‘JELLY BABIES’; Discover all about the secret world of the jellyfish and its awesome reputation as a hunter and follow its complex lifecycle in the ‘Jelly Babies’ nursery.

Reptiles

Reptiles

Enter the extraordinary realm of the reptiles; featuring everything from a charismatic snapping turtle and terrapins to frilled dragons.

Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs

Coral reefs sustain an incredible variety of marine life and here at Blue Reef Portsmouth you can encounter some of our beautiful coral reef residents.

By maintaining excellent water clarity and quality, our marine experts are able to propagate a diverse range of hard and soft corals. These corals are used to create naturally themed habitats for our brightly coloured reef fish.

Crested Horn Shark

Crested Horn Shark

Heterodontus galeatus

This bottom dwelling shark is also known as the Crested Bullhead Shark.

It will hunt on the seabed for molluscs, crustaceans and sea urchins which it crushes with its flat, vice like teeth.

They can grow to be 1.5 metres long and are found in the Western Pacific.

Zebra Shark

Zebra Shark

Stegostoma fasciatum

This beautiful shark is found throughout tropical oceans.

It gets its name because as a juvenile it has white stripes on black skin.

As they mature, the markings change to spots rather than stripes.

They eat small fish and molluscs and can grow to over 3 metres.

Claws

Claws

Crabs, lobsters and shrimps have been the masters of our seas since before the age of the dinosaurs and colonized most environments.

Encounter comical cleaner shrimps and hermit crabs to giant spider crabs and ancient lobsters, and get up close and personal with some of these amazing animals in our Rockpool Encounters (please see events for times).

Native Shores

Native Shores

Come face to face with the amazing animals that live right on our doorstep in the spectacular Solent.

Discover the wide diversity of our native marine life including colourful wrasse, crustaceans, sea bass and triggerfish.  Stars of the exhibits include several species of our native sharks and rays.

Nurseries

Nurseries

Blue Reef’s dedicated team of aquarists are actively involved in pioneering captive breeding programmes for a wide range of both native and tropical species.

Our nursery displays provide the perfect environment for many species including captive-bred baby clownfish and seahorses.  Other breeding successes include sharks, rays, pipefish, Bangaii cardinal fish, cuttlefish and many more.

The Blue Reef Nursery provides a fascinating insight into the life cycles of marine creatures from around the world – so why not bring your toddlers to meet our tiddlers!

Tropical Tunnel

Tropical Tunnel

At the aquarium’s heart is the giant ocean tank where an underwater tunnel offers incredibly close encounters with puffer fish, triggerfish and hundreds of vibrant tropical fish amid the beauty of a recreated coral reef.

Don’t miss our Tropical Tunnel Feed at 12pm everyday and enjoy amazing views of our tunnel’s residents being fed their lunch.