You don’t have to learn how to scuba-dive to observe the fascinating creatures of the deep – the shore of your local beach is packed with a whole host of intriguing underwater communities.
Rockpooling is a fun and educational activity that people of all different ages can enjoy. When the tide is out, your local beach will be a great place to discover, observe, and interact with a number of sea-dwellers.
Before you go, make sure you wear comfortable clothes and pack sunscreen and sun hats. It’s important not to buy or bring a net with you though, because they can actually damage rockpool environments.
Make sure you take the tides into consideration before planning ANY rockpool activity. Tides can be unpredictable and dangerous, and can completely change the beach. You can check tide predictions for the next 6 days via EasyTide, or you can download the My Tide Times App.
The lower the tide, the more chance you have of finding fascinating little habitats.
What Will I Find?
The type of creatures you come across will depend on the area of the country you’re in, the weather, and the tide. There are a few critters that can be found in most rockpools in Newquay:
- Starfish – there are over 2,000 known species of starfish in the world, and the most common types found in rockpools around the UK are cushion stars.
- Sea Anemones – these live inside most rockpools you’ll find in the UK. When the water level drops, they tuck their tentacles inside their bodies to stop them from drying out.
- Crabs – you might find velvet crabs or common shore crabs in the UK’s rockpools.
- Prawns – these small crustaceans can be found in rockpools and shorelines around the UK.
- Common Limpets – these are aquatic snails that clamp onto the walls of rockpools when they are dry.
- Rock Goby – these are very small fish that are usually a very similar colour to the sand, so you’ll need to look closely and carefully!
Interacting with the Creatures
Rockpooling takes patience. If you move about a lot or splash the water, the creatures living in the water might get scared and flee. It’s worth taking the time to observe the rockpool in silence for a few minutes so you have the chance to see the full extent of the wildlife living there.
Rockpools with ledges and lots of seaweed usually have the most amount of life in them – and don’t forget to look under small rocks (but make sure you put them back very carefully). Don’t pick up any big rocks, because you might damage lots of creatures’ homes if you drop them!
Sometimes, rockpools can be deceptively dangerous. Some can be up to eight feet deep, and rocks can often be slippery. By taking a few safety precautions you can make sure you have a safe, educational and enjoyable day…
- Never leave children unattended when they are near the shore or around rockpools
- Always tell someone where you are going before you start rockpooling
- Wear appropriate clothing and make sure you’re aware of the heat
- Check tide times
- Don’t remove plants or animals away from the shore or rockpool, so you can avoid damaging delicate eco-systems
Remember to always be respectful and careful with any creatures you come across. The rockpool is their home, and you should leave it exactly as you find it. Don’t forget to record your discoveries each time you go back, and you might start to see patterns.
Here at Blue Reef Newquay, we have open top tanks filled with some of the most interesting creatures you can find in rockpools around the world. Take a look at what you can discover as part of our educational school trips.