Highlight Animals

White Sturgeon

White Sturgeon

White Sturgeons are the largest freshwater fish in North America. They’re commonly found in rivers, although they can also thrive in saltwater. These sturgeons weigh up to 1,300 pounds and grow as long as 19 feet. They rely on whisker-like barbels on the front of their mouths to help them sense and feel food hidden in the sediment of river beds and the ocean floor. Sturgeon eggs are commonly known as caviar.

Bat Ray

Bat Ray

Bat rays live along the western coast of the United States between Oregon and California. They have powerful jaws and grinding teeth that they use to crush their favorite foods like crabs, oysters, and abalone. For defense, bat rays have a venomous spine at the base of their tails. They thrash their tails at predators when they’re frightened or attacked.

Jellies

Jellies

Jellies are beautiful invertebrates that drift with the ocean currents. They use miniscule stinging cells in their tentacles to stun and capture food like zooplankton and small fish. Their mouths are located inside their bell-shaped bodies. They consume food and expel waste from the same opening. Most jellies are not dangerous to humans.

River Otter

River Otter

The playful North American river otter is a semiaquatic mammal that’s common in the Bay Area. River otters are equally comfortable on land and in the water, and make their homes in burrows near wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes. They’re extraordinary swimmers who can reach speeds of 7 mph in the water, and stay submerged up to eight minutes. They use their excellent water skills to forage for food like crawfish, crabs, fish, frogs, turtles, bird eggs, and birds.

Sea Star

Sea Star

Sea stars, sometimes called star fish, are not really fish. They’re invertebrates that come in thousands of shapes and colors, and are found in oceans around the world. For the last several years, thousands of various sea star species along the California coast have died due to an unidentified disease called seastar wasting syndrome. Scientists are still working to identify the causes of the disease, but meanwhile the massive die-offs could affect the delicate balance of biosystems along the coast.

California Sheephead

California Sheephead

All California Sheepheads begin their lives as females, and then depending upon their age, environment and other hormonal cues, can change into males. This handy behavior helps maintain a healthy ratio of males to females for breeding success. Males and females look very different. Males are larger than females and sport distinctive black heads and tails, a rosy red midriff and a white chin. Females are all pink except for a white chin. Sheepheads can live as long as 53 years.

Sevengill Shark

Sevengill Shark

Most sharks have five gills, but the distinctive sevengill shark has seven gills. Not dangerous to humans, they typically live in shallow bay waters and along coastlines, and the shallow waters of San Francisco Bay are an important breeding area for this species. Females are usually larger than males, growing up to a total length of about 10 feet. Scientists estimate that sevengills can live as long as 32 years.

Giant Pacific Octopus

Giant Pacific Octopus

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest octopus species in the world. Typically, adults weigh about 50 lbs. Octopus are typically secretive and masters of camouflage. They can control and change their skin’s color and texture to blend into their surroundings, communicate emotions, and confuse predators. Remarkably, an octopus has blue blood, three hearts and nine “brains.” The main brain is encased in the octopus’ skull; the other eight groups of specialized nerves are located in each of the octopus’ eight arms.
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Bay Ecotarium