Animals in Ocean

The world’s oceans are divided into five sections – the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Antarctic Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean. Before the year 2000, only four oceans were recognized officially by the International Hydrographic Organization, but the entity added the Antarctic Ocean (also known as the Southern Ocean) that year.

Oceans make up 71% of the Earth’s surface, and they exclusively hold saltwater. These oceans are only home to marine creatures, and there are no oceans in the world that are the primary home to any land-dwelling animals. Every area of the world has unique and colorful species of fish, mammals, and other wildlife. The ocean is a crucial part of the world’s ecosystems, and researchers have openly admitted that approximately 80% of the oceans are still unmapped and unexplored in 2021.

The National Animal of the Ocean

Since the ocean is neither a state nor an ocean, most people would assume that it doesn’t technically have a national animal. The oceans connect countries around the world, and there are some countries that have named their own national aquatic animals. For example, India’s national aquatic animal is the dolphin. However, the United States has named the orca as their national aquatic animal.

Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in the Ocean

Our water bodies around the world are known to be homes to diverse and unique wildlife. Most wild marine creatures are spread out across the world and are known to reside in different oceans. The Pacific Ocean is home to:

  • Hammerhead sharks. These sharks can weigh up to 1,000 lbs., and they have one of the most distinctive bodies of any shark.
  • Giant squids. The Giant squid is the largest invertebrate found on Earth so far. It can grow up to 33 feet long.

In the Indian Ocean, you’ll find:

  • Indian river dolphins. These dolphins have terrible vision, and they primarily live in the few areas of the world with fresh water.
  • Goonch catfish. Typically found around India and Nepal, these fish are one of the largest types of catfish in the world.

The Arctic Ocean is known for the brisk waters that animals already have to survive in, but it still manages to contain:

  • Bowhead whales. The bowhead whale can weigh up to 100 tons.
  • Pacific walruses. This type of walrus was once considered an endangered species but was denied the classification in 2017.

The Southern Ocean, which is more commonly known as the Antarctic Ocean, is rather diverse, residing at the southernmost point of the world. It was only officially recognized by the International Hydrographic Organization in 2000. Some of the most common animals in this region include:

  • Cuttlefish. These fish can be kept as pets, though they have intricate needs to keep the invertebrate healthy.
  • Colossal squids. This squid is larger than the giant squid, and it is only found 2,000 meters below the Ocean’s surface.

The Atlantic Ocean is home to a diverse group of animals as well, including:

These are only some of the animals that you’ll find in oceans around the world. So much of the world’s oceans have yet to be explored beyond a certain depth, so it is likely that many other animals lurk beneath the surface.

The Most Dangerous Animals in the Ocean

No matter how calm the ocean water looks at the surface, a lot can always be going on inside it. There are several dangerous animals inside the ocean at any given point in time. These include:

  • Pufferfish: A pufferfish might contain deadly toxins that can be severely dangerous. It can make you gravely ill and can also be potentially lethal.
  • Lionfish: This fish is venomous, and it is primarily found in the Caribbean.
  • Sea snakes: The bite of a sea snake can be fatal, which is why they are considered to be dangerous especially for anglers.
  • Tiger sharks: Tiger sharks are known to attack humans unprovoked and can tear out the flesh with their specially designed teeth.
  • Box jellyfish: The bodies of box jellyfishes have tiny darts that are loaded with poison. Once stung by them, humans and animals can experience cardiac arrest, paralysis, or even death.

Considering how much of the world’s oceans still are hidden from access (due to their depth), it is likely that many more dangerous animals are still around. Perhaps the most dangerous part of these waters is that animals may be waiting to attack if anyone decides to go beyond what is already known to scientists.

Endangered Animals in the Ocean

Despite the wildlife in oceans around the world being diverse and unique, there is always a threat to these animals being endangered or extinct. In fact, approximately one-third of the animals in oceans today are currently endangered. Some of these endangered animals include:

  • Hawksbill sea turtle
  • Caribbean reef fish
  • Starry sturgeon
  • Monkfish

Pollution is a major threat to marine creatures around the world. As many as one million animals are killed each year from the trash and other debris that humans leave behind in the ocean. Conservation efforts are being made by companies like Ocean Conservancy and Oceana.

As of 2015, 15 different animals have got extinct so far, including the great auk and the Caribbean monk seal. Most of the animals were never photographed, leaving researchers only to guess what they may have once looked like.

Sea Countries Animals Lists

Click any of the countries below to see a detailed list of animals located in that country!

Sea Animals

Adelie Penguin

Eats up to 2kg of food per day!

African Penguin

The only penguin species in Africa!

Albacore Tuna

The albacore is a very fast swimmer

Albatross

The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

One got to be 255 years old!

Alligator

They have two sets of eyelids!

Anchovies

November 12th is celebrated as National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

Angelfish

There are 70 different species!

Barnacle

Closely related to crabs and lobsters!

Barracuda

Can grow to nearly 2 meters long!

Barramundi Fish

Scale rings indicate age

Beaver

Builds a dam from sticks and leaves!

Beluga Sturgeon

The beluga sturgeon is one of the largest bony fish in the world!

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Marlin

Every black marlin is born as a female.

Blobfish

One of the ugliest creatures in existence!

Blue Shark

Blue sharks can have up to 135 pups at a time.

Blue Whale

The largest animal on Earth

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world

Bonito Fish

May eat squid or other small invertebrate ocean life

Bonnethead Shark

Bonnetheads are the only hammerhead sharks that use their pectoral fins to swim.

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Borneo Elephant

The smallest species of elephant!

Bottlenose Dolphin

Stays in groups from 15 to 2,000 in number!'

Bull Shark

Unpredictable and aggressive temperament!

Bullfrog

Has loud cow-like calls!

Butterfly

There are thought to be up 20,000 species!

Butterfly Fish

There are more than 100 different species!

Catfish

There are nearly 3,000 different species!

Chimaera

Also called ghost shark

Chinstrap Penguin

There are 7 million breeding pairs!

Clownfish

Also known as the anemonefish!

Codfish

They eat other fish

Colossal Squid

Can survive eating a single fish for months

Cookiecutter Shark

The cookiecutter shark takes its name because it leaves a cookie-shaped bite hole in its prey.

Coral

Thought to be around 70,000 different species!

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crested Penguin

Has long yellow eyebrows!

Cuttlefish

Found throughout the world's oceans!

Dolphin

Can reach speeds of up to 25 mph!

Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

Drum Fish

The drum fish makes a croaking sound with its swimming bladder!

Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

Dugong

Closely related to the Manatee!

Dusky Dolphin

Communicates using whistles, squeaks and clicks!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Elephant Seal

The largest species of seal in the world!

Emperor Penguin

The world's largest species of penguin!

False Killer Whale

The false killer whale looks like a cross between a dolphin and orca!

Fangtooth

Has the largest teeth compared to body size of any known fish

Fin Whale

Found throughout ocean waters worldwide!

Fish

Respire through the gills on their heads!

Flounder

A flat fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific!

Fluke Fish (summer flounder)

The chameleon of the seas!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Fish

Can glide in the air for hundreds of feet

Frigatebird

Found inhabiting tropical islands and coasts!

Fur Seal

Found only in the Northern Hemisphere!

Galapagos Penguin

Found around the Equator!

Galapagos Tortoise

The biggest species of tortoise in the world!

Garden Eel

Garden eel colonies are made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals.

Gentoo Penguin

Found throughout the sub-Antarctic!

Giant Clam

Can reach nearly 4ft in length!

Goose

There are 29 different species!

Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

Greenland Shark

This shark has the longest lifespan of any vertebrate.

Grey Reef Shark

One of the most common shark species!

Grey Seal

One of the rarest species of seal on Earth

Hagfish

Can use slime to suffocate marine predators or escape capture

Hammerhead Shark

Found in coastal waters around the world!

Harbor Seal

Harbor seals can dive as deep as 1400 feet

Harp Seal

The harp seal can migrate up to 3,000 miles every year

Hermit Crab

There are over 500 different species!

Herring

People enjoy the taste of the oily fish in many different ways including pickled, smoked, salted, dried and fermented.

Horn Shark

Endemic to the Californian coast!

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Humboldt Penguin

Found on the South American coast!

Humpback Whale

There are thought to be 80,000 left in the wild!

Immortal Jellyfish

Excellent hitchhiker on long-trip cargo ships

Indian Palm Squirrel

Natively found in parts of India and Sri Lanka!

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jellyfish

Have tentacles around their mouths!

Killer Whale

Typically consumes over 200 kg of food a day!

King Crab

Can have a leg span of nearly 2 meters!

King Penguin

More than 2 million breeding pairs!

Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

Krill

The krill is perhaps the most important animal in the marine ecosystem!

Lamprey

Not related to the eel

Leopard Seal

The world's most aggressive seal species!

Lionfish

Females can release up to 15,000 eggs at a time!

Little Penguin

The smallest species of penguin!

Lobster

Have been known to reach 100 years old!

Macaroni Penguin

Gather in colonies of up to 100,000 members!

Magellanic Penguin

Threatened by oil spills!

Manatee

Also known as the Sea Cow!

Manta Ray

Can grow up to 9m wide!

Milkfish

Females lay up to 5 million eggs at one time in warm, shallow and salty waters

Minke Whale

There are two recognised species!

Moray Eel

Can grow to nearly 2 meters in length!

Nurse Shark

Commonly found in Central American waters!

Octopus

There are around 300 different species!

Oyster

Can process up to 10 litres of water an hour!

Penguin

Spends 75% of it's time hunting for food!

Polar Bear

Could be extinct within the next 30 years!

Porpoise

Surprisingly, not a dolphin!

Prawn

Closely related to crabs and lobsters!

Pufferfish

The second most poisonous creature in the world!

Puffin

Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!

Reindeer

Also known as the Caribou

Rockfish

These fish can grow up to three feet long!

Rockhopper Penguin

There are 3 different species!

Royal Penguin

Can reach speeds of 20mph!

Salmon

Returns upstream every year to spawn

Salmon Shark

Salmon sharks are related to Great Whites.

Sand Tiger Shark

The sand tiger is the shark most commonly seen in aquariums.

Sardines

Schools of sardines can be miles long and are often visible from an airplane

Sawfish

Sawfish teeth keep growing as the fish gets older

Scorpion Fish

There are more than 200 recognised species!

Sea Dragon

Inhabits tropical coastal waters of Australia!

Sea Lion

It's flippers allow it to walk on the land

Sea Otter

Eats over 40 different marine species!

Sea Slug

All sea slugs have both male and female sex organs

Sea Squirt

There are more than 3,000 known species!

Sea Turtle

Always return to the same beach to lay eggs!

Sea Urchin

Can live for up to 200 years!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Seal

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Shark

No shark species has any bones in their bodies

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Sixgill shark

The sixgill shark has six pairs of gills instead of the normal five

Skipjack Tuna

The skipjack is the most commonly caught tuna in the world

Sleeper Shark

The Greenland shark is one of the longest living vertebrates in the world.

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Snowy Owl

One of the largest owl species in the world!

Sperm Whale

Each tooth weighs 1kg!

Spinner Shark

Can have up to 20 babies

Spiny Dogfish

Found in ocean waters worldwide!

Sponge

There are more than 9,000 known species!

Squid

Some species are known to have 10 arms!

Starfish

Has 2 stomachs to aid digestion!

Steller’s Sea Cow

Hunted to extinction in 17 years!

Stingray

It's stinger is razor-sharp or serrated!

Sturgeon

Large species can swallow whole salmon

Tang

Found around shallow coral reefs!

Tarpon

Its genus dates back to the Cretaceous period – 113 million years ago

Tiger Salamander

Found across the North American wetlands!

Toadfish

Can be heard out of water

Tropicbird

Nests on tropical islands and cliffs!

Tuna

The tuna has a sleek body that enables it to swim quickly through the water

Vaquita

Smallest cetacean in the ocean

Walrus

Inhabits the freezing waters of the Arctic Circle!

Wandering Albatross

Featured in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

Whale Shark

The largest species of fish in the world!

Wolf Eel

Wolf Eels may become tame and interact with human in areas where people frequently dive.

Wolffish

The wolffish has impressive canines with a powerful bite force!

Woolly Mammoth

Tusks grew to 16ft long!

Wrasse

There are more than 500 different species!

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

The rarest species of penguin!

Yellowfin Tuna

The yellowfin forms schools with other tuna species

Zebra Shark

Can get to be 30 years old in the wild!

Sea Animals List

Animals in Ocean FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the most common animals in the oceans?

Some of the most common marine creatures include whale sharks, sharks, catfishes, jellyfishes, sea snakes, sea horses, fish, and sea turtles. However, the world is filled with unexplored territories, so it is possible that many more animals exist that could outnumber the species that researchers have already discovered.
Of the animals that researchers know about, approximately 15 animals have gone extinct.