Explore a rock pool

Next time you're at the beach, head down to the rock pool and explore all the amazing aquatic and marine life.

Rock pools are amazing places!

From a distance, rock pools may look like little still pools of water - but inside there is a whole living world. Life in this small underwater world can be full of all sorts of marine life including fish, coral, sponges, barnacles, seaweed, algae, mussels, crabs and many more things. Exploring a rock pool can be lots of fun. Make sure you do it safely by following some of our top tips.

What can I find in a rock pool?



Starfish come in many shapes and sizes and are often found stretched across rocks in tiny pools of water.
sea urchin

Sea Urchins

You are more likely to find the dried out shell of a sea urchin on the sand. But if your lucky you might find one with its spines intact in a rock pool.


-Mytilus edulis-
There are many types of mussels and you will often find some firmyl attached to the side of a rock or a wooden jetty.
hermit crab

Hermit Crabs

There are over 800 species of hermit crabs and as they scavenge for empty shells to occupy as their home and protect their soft bodies.


Octopi generally have eight limbs and there are over 300 known species of them. They are known to be one of the smartest creatures of the ocean.


There are thousands of species of seaweed growing and living on rocky shorelines around the world.
sea sponge


Sponges have soft and light bodies full of holes and channels allowing water to go right through them.


Algae comes in many variations and you can often see them as long, thin and bright green strands attached to rocks near the shoreline.


There are many types of fish in the ocean, varying in size and colour. In rock pools we often see smaller size fish that get stranded with the receeding tide.


Jellyfish can be foud all over the world and we often may even swim into them at the beach. Did you know that some jellyfish can even glow in the dark!
sea anemone

Sea Anemone

When the tide goes down and the sea anemone is no longer submerged in water you will usually find them closed up like a ball. As the tide comes back in they will then open up to reveal their tentacles.


-Ocean plastics-
Unfortunately we can often find pollution such as plastics, nets and hooks on the beach and coastlines. Make sure you take your rubbish with you and if you see any plastic pick it up and put it in the bin.

Beware of the Blue Ringed Octopus

While it is mostly safe exploring rock pools there are a few creatures that you need to watch out for. One of them is the Blue Ringed Octopus. This very small octopus, might be tiny, but it is one of the mostd deadly creatures in the world. When this octopus gets scared small bright blue rings appear all over its body warning others that it is dangerous and they should leave it alone. So, next time your out there, make sure you only put your hands where you can clearly see what's there and always ask if your not sure of something.

blue ringed octopus

Having fun & stay safe while exploring rock pools...

  • Make sure you keep sun safe and have your sunscreen and hat on, and wear a long sleeve top or rashie.
  • Be gentle and never put your hand under rocks or where you cannot see.
  • If you see something and you don't know what it is always ask and check to find out.
  • If you want to observe small fish closer you can use a soft net and a bucket filled with fresh ocean water.
  • Don't use sticks or poke at creatures as you may hurt them.
  • Stay away from the edge of rock platforms and never turn your back on the ocean, even when the water looks calm,
  • Make sure you take all of your rubbish and equipment with you and help keep our coastalines beautiful.

Life in a rock pool!

Check out this video from San Diego Zoo Kids on rock pool marine life.

Explore your local rock pools!

It's fun to explore!

Use our checklist the next time you are down at the beach to find and explore the amazing underwater world of rock pools. You might like to try your hand at drawing what you see too!

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