Aquafacts

Welcome! 

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

Overview

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.

Cetaceans

Whales, dolphins and porpoises

Find out more about this charimatic group of marine mammals.

Dolphins & Porpoises

There are slight physical differences between the dolphin (Delphinidae) and porpoise (Phocoenidae) families. Porpoise teeth are shaped like spades and each tooth has a sharp edge. Dolphin teeth are pointed and shaped like cones. Porpoises tend to be small

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

Pacific white-sided dolphins are found throughout the temperate waters of the North Pacific Ocean, from Japan to North America and from the coasts of Alaska down to Baja, Mexico.There are an estimated 900,000 Pacific white-sided dolphins, travelling in gr

Grey Whales

The adult male grey whale can reach lengths longer than a city bus (14.6 metres). They have the longest migration route of any mammal, covering more than 9,000 kilometres between their summer feeding grounds in Alaska and the Bering Sea to their winter br

Killer Whales

Killer whales have iconic black-and-white markings.You might see a killer whale sticking its head out of the water (spyhopping) or breaching, tail slapping and dorsal-fin slapping. These behaviours are most commonly seen when killer whales are socializing

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).

Harbour Porpoises

In Canada, harbour porpoises are listed as a species of special concern. They're caught accidentally in fishing lines and impacted by contaminants and noise pollution from shipping traffic.

Belugas

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.

fishes

Fishes

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.

Sharks

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

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

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.

frogs

Since the time of the dinosaurs

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

Frogs

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

birds

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

Invertebrates

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

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.

Jellies

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

Reptiles

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.

Crocodilians

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.

places

Places

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.

Looking for more?

View Ocean Wise Research

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