AquaFacts is a compilation of the most frequently asked queries, answered by our biologists and other reputable sources.


How many eggs do salmon lay? What do sharks eat?

With over 50,000 animals at the Aquarium, there is lots to know and discover about aquatic animals and places. Here, we answer the most frequently questions about the animals we care for.


Whales, dolphins and porpoises

Find out more about this charimatic group of marine mammals.


Belugas live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic, with the southern-most population inhabiting the St. Lawrence River estuary of Canada.This remnant and endangered population was separated from the other populations during the last Ice Age.

False Killer Whales

False killer whales are not closely related to killer whales. Their common name comes from the similarly shaped skulls they share with killer whales (Orcinus orca).

Grey Whales

Grey whales are the only baleen whale that feeds in inshore, shallow waters. They have one of the longest migrations of any mammal, covering more than 9,000 km between their summer feeding grounds and winter calving lagoons.

Humpback Whales

Humpback whales are a cosmopolitan species, found in most of the world’s oceans. Renowned for their charismatic behaviours, humpbacks can be found in the summer months gorging on prey in the nutrient-rich waters of British Columbia.

Killer Whales

Killer whales, also known as orcas, are found in all of the world’s oceans. Killer whales figure prominently in the cultural traditions of people of the Northwest Coast. Three types of killer whales roam British Columbia’s coastal waters.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

Pacific white-sided dolphins are found throughout the temperate waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Originally believed to be a pelagic species, they can be seen along the inshore waters of British Columbia, often traveling in groups of 10-100 animals.


Two species of porpoise can be found in British Columbia waters, the harbour porpoise and Dall’s porpoise. Porpoises are the smallest cetacean species in British Columbia, differing from dolphins by their size, teeth shape, and body shape.



Half of all vertebrates in the world are fishes.This diverve group ranges from the most primitive and ancient, like the hagfish, to highly developed, like the marlin.


Worldwide, there are over 500 species of shark and more are being discovered to this day.They live in every ocean of the world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, as well as some rivers and lakes. At least 12 are found in the waters of British Columbia.


Lingcod are not true cod; they actually belong to the greenling suborder.While guarding eggs, lingcod may try to nip at divers.

Pacific Salmon

Most Pacific salmon are anadromous. Born in fresh water, they spend their adult lives in the ocean and return to their natal rivers, or lakes, to spawn. They are also semelparous, meaning they die after they spawn. Atlantic salmon are anadromous, but they


Rays belong to the same group as sharks; together they are known as “elasmobranchs." Like sharks, rays have skeletons made of flexible cartilage instead of bone.


Since the time of the dinosaurs

Frog are now rapidly disappearing. FInd out more about the awesome amphibians and their importance. 


Frogs are cold-blooded vertebrates that lack scales, have squat bodies, long muscular hind legs, and typically they lack tails. Many frogs spend their lives in a moist environment, such as marshes, swamps, along a river, or in a forest. These environments


They have wings and feathers

How these animals live in diverse environments from the tropical rainforest to rocky coastal shores? Learn here. 

African Penguins

There are 18 species of penguins, but only one that lives along the southern coasts of Africa today. African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) breeds in colonies on islands and the coastal mainland from Namibia to South Africa.



Invertebrates are animals without backbones. They make up a diverse group of incredible and sometimes strange-looking creatures. They thrive in the air, on land and under the sea.


Butterflies most commonly feed on the nectar of flowers, but they also have a taste for pretty nasty stuff, like animal waste and rotting fruit.


A jelly is 96% water. It has no heart, no brain and no bones. But this relatively simple creature accomplishes incredible things, like swimming by jet propulsion and injecting prey with toxic harpoon-like cells.

Marine Invertebrates

On earth, 97% of all animals are invertebrates. Snails, clams, octopuses, worms, seastars and squid are all members of this diverse group.

Octopuses & Squids

The most charismatic of marine invertebrates, octopuses and squids are peculiar animals that register smell in small pits located beneath the eyes.



Reptiles are among the oldest living creatures on the planet. Many of their ancestors were around before, during and after the age of dinosaurs. Learn more about these incredible animals that are still with us today.


Crocodiles, alligators, caiman, gharials and false gharials make up the crocodilian group, which has survived for about 200 million years. Their eyes and nostrils sit high on their head, so that their body remains hidden underwater. When prey is only a sh

Green Anacondas

The anaconda subdues its prey by coiling around the body and cutting off circulation.They are generalists and take down prey as big as adult capybaras (giant rodents) and white-tailed deer.

Leatherback Turtles

Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles, measuring up to 2.4 metres long and 1.6 metres wide. In one day, they can eat their body weight in jellies, such as the Portuguese Man-of-War, the lion’s mane, and the cannonball jelly.

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are the only species of turtle that live in the open ocean. The females return to land to lay clutches of eggs, but once the male sea turtles reach the safety of the ocean, they may never set flipper on shore again.

Otters & Pinnipeds

Otters & Pinnipeds

Sea otters are an aquatic member of the weasel family, while pinnipeds include seals, sea lions and walruses.

Harbour Seals

Harbour seals are found along the coast of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, often in coastal waters, estuaries and river systems. There are several subspecies, such as the Pacific harbour seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi), that live along the B.C. coast.

Sea Otters

Sea otters need a lot of “food energy” to maintain body temperature in their cold water habitat. They have no insulating body fat, like most other marine mammals, and instead are surrounded by dense, plush fur.

Steller Sea Lions

Steller sea lions range throughout the Pacific Rim. They are loud, highly gregarious marine mammals that use haul out sites to rest and rookeries on remote and exposed islands to breed.

Northern Fur Seals

Despite their name, fur seals are more closely related to sea lions and members of the earred seal family. Just look for the obvious external ear flaps and large flippers that support their body upright when on land.



The Amazon and the Arctic are incredibly diverse aquatic places that are experiencing rapid changes. Learn about the delicate ecosystems represented at the Aquarium and our impact on them.

The Amazon

The Amazon is the most species-dense area in the world. With more than 3,000 species of fishes (ten times as many freshwater fishes in all of Canada) 50,000 species of higher plants, and one fifth of the world’s bird species, this extraordinary place is w

The Arctic

Canada's Arctic is home to walruses and polar bears, belugas, and narwhals, Greenland sharks and about 100 species of fish. Fur and fat are a common way for these Arctic residents to keep warm.

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