The beach is more than just sand and water; it’s actually a complex and ancient ecosystem that harbours thousands of different organisms. Beaches are edges within nature, where the ocean meets the land, and have been a place for all kinds of fascinating lifeforms to evolve and adapt.
No two beaches are the same, but many of them are home to similar types of wildlife, regardless of the continent. These are typically organisms that have adapted to living on the hot sands or within the shoreline.
Seagulls are common to many beaches around the world, and most people are quick to shrug them off as little more than a nuisance. But seagulls are actually well-adapted birds that use all the different natural forces at the beach to thrive. For instance, seagulls are able to maintain a certain flight pattern no matter how terrible the winds may be and are excellent at spotting a potential snack from far away.
Crabs are crustaceans that generally live in or close to water, both salt and fresh. There are dozens of recorded species of crabs, and there are few other kinds of animals that are more well-adapted to their home environment. Crabs have hard exoskeletons made of chitin, and generally have six legs with two prominent claws. They range greatly in size, from tiny crabs living in-between rocks, to much larger hermit crabs that constantly need to find bigger shells to inhabit. Crabs lead interesting lives, and many of them build incredible little burrows within the sand.
Seals are often called the dogs of the sea, often because they resemble and act like our beloved canine companions. Seals are generally not too afraid of people, and being the curious creatures that they are, will often come closer to the shoreline to investigate the swimmers that are in their territory. One of the reasons that seals love to spend time on the beach is that it gives them a chance to get away from sharks for a while, which are their natural predator.
Penguins are not found on most beaches, and their main populations tend to be farther offshore, but there are some beaches that are natural homes to some species of penguin. Penguins are flightless birds that rely on beaches in order to build their nests and have their eggs, which is why there is a push globally to conserve more beaches. Penguins might seem quite slow on land, but once they’re in the water they transform into efficient and agile swimmers. There are lots of interesting documentaries on penguins, perfect to run in the background while spending time with family or enjoying FIFA World Cup betting.
Sea stars and starfish are instantly recognisable thanks to their long arms and lack of any other discernible feature. They are found in a wide variety of habitats and use small little tubes on the bottom of their arms to move around. It’s not uncommon to come across a starfish with a missing arm, which it probably lost during a predator attack.