About 40 different species of seahorses live in a variety of coastal habitats around the world. With horse heads, monkey tails, vacuum mouths, and kangaroo pouches they may seem all mixed up, but they’re actually well adapted to thrive in their habitats.

What They Eat

Seahorses are predators. To eat, they suck in tiny animals like zooplankton and microscopic shrimp.

Where They Live

All seahorses require shallow coasts where there are plenty of things to hold and enough moving water to carry food to them. Habitats include mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows.

What They Do

Newborn seahorses drift with the ocean currents until they eventually settle in a new place. They then stay close to home, rarely venturing further than a few yards away.

How They’re Doing

Seahorses are in danger globally. They are bycatch (captured accidentally in fish nets) and caught for use in traditional medicines and foods. Many governments regulate their trade but numbers remain low.

Where in the World

Central America & Caribbean
North America
Pacific Islands
South America



Conservation Status

Of 39 seahorse species, one is doing well, seven are vulnerable, one is endangered and the rest are data deficient—demonstrating the urgent need for more research.

Northern Seahorse


Animal Facts

Length: Pygmy Seahorse: ¾”
Length: Australian big-bellied seahorse: 12”

Taxonomic Category


Where at the Zoo

Discovery Bay

With seahorses, the males get pregnant and give birth. Females place their eggs in the male’s pouch where they’re fertilized and carried for several weeks.

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