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Rockpooling: What Creatures Will You Find?

Throughout the summer, the beaches surrounding Portsmouth can offer hours of entertainment for families, whether they are tourists or locals. From sandcastle-building to paddling and sunbathing, a summer’s day at the beach can entail all sorts of fun.

One of the most enjoyable, family-friendly, and educational activities the beach can offer is rockpooling. From toddlers to teenagers, the joys of discovering the underwater habitats surrounding the shore are endless for all ages.

We’ve looked at the most common creatures you might find around the shores of Portsmouth, and we’ve included a couple of our best rockpooling tips, so you can grab your buckets and start exploring!

Creatures You May Discover

There is a variety of different creatures living on the rocky shores of Portsmouth’s beaches. Hidden beneath the surface of the small rockpools are thriving communities of creatures happily existing alongside each other. All of the creatures have adapted especially to survive in the treacherous environments of the rockpool, and they all hold their own amazing abilities.


There are over 2,000 different types of starfish existing in every single ocean in the world. The most common ones found in UK rockpools usually have about five arms and are yellow or orange in colour.

The underside of the common starfish is covered in little tubes that can be used for moving and holding prey. They usually grow to about 10cm from one arm to another, but some have been found to be up to 25cm long – that’s the size of an average guinea pig!


Prawns are small crustaceans that can usually be found swimming around close to the shoreline. When the tide comes in and out, they sometimes get left behind in the rockpools. Don’t worry about them being left behind, though – they are very resilient and built for rockpool life!

Prawns eat scraps of dead animals or tiny creatures called plankton, which are usually abundant in rockpools.


Crabs are another form of crustacean that you can find in Portsmouth’s rockpools. They have eight legs and two large claws. Watch out – crabs walk along the sand and rocks sideways!

If you find a crab in a rockpool, you will be able to see its external skeleton, which protects its body like a suit of armour. The most common crabs found in rockpools are common shore crabs, and they’re usually a reddish-brown colour that helps them blend in with rocks so they can hide from predators.

Sea Anemones

Sea anemones are small creatures that make rockpools look like underwater gardens! They were actually named after the anemone flower, but are closely related to jellyfish.

They have no heart, brain or blood – but that doesn’t stop them from being excellent predators. Sea anemones are known to draw in tiny plankton using their tentacles. When the water level drops, they tuck their tentacles inside their bodies to stop them from drying out, which also helps to disguise them as rocks until the water covers them again.


Limpets are underwater snails that can stick to the bottom and the walls of a rockpool with no water in, and then crawl around once the water covers them.

This helps to keep them safe from predators and the damaging rays of the sun when the rockpool is empty – a pretty cool and clever trick!

Our Rockpooling Top Tips

Rockpooling is a fun and safe activity, but sometimes beaches can be unpredictable, so it’s important to always stay alert. These are our top five rockpooling safety tips:

  • ALWAYS check tide times before you plan your rockpooling trip, and keep an eye on the water level at all times. You can find tide predictions for the next six days via EasyTide.
  • Always make sure children are supervised around rockpools – some can get up to 8ft deep!
  • Wear the right kind of clothing that you don’t mind getting sandy or muddy, and don’t forget your sun hat and plenty of suncream!
  • Always tell someone where you’re going before you start rockpooling.
  • Most importantly, don’t remove any plants or other forms of life from the beach – you might disturb the delicate eco-systems.

Visit Our Rockpools

If you’re new to rockpooling and would like some tips, or if you fancy discovering some interesting creatures of the deep on a rainy day, you can get in touch to find out when our rockpool is open. You’ll also see our graceful sharks and playful otters while learning about our world’s oceans!

Book your tickets online to receive a special discount!

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