Look for marine critters at night on the beach

Everyone loves the BEACH and one of the best times to look for MARINE CRITTERS on the beach is in the winter AFTER DARK.

It’s a little scary and you can definitely expect the unexpected. It’s a geat family activity.

Last week a group of volunteer Beach Watchers helped more than a hundred kids and their families search for intertidal critters on the beach after dark.

Along the shore, they found , crabs, sea stars, sea slugs, snails and a giant Feather Duster sea worm.

You can set up your own night-time beach walk with your family on a low-tide day in your area. (You can find low-tide listings for your area at many sites on the internet.)

Get your parents to help you find flashlights, headlamps or lanterns and head to a local beach.

Many of the beach critters congregate in tide pools, along jettys and under piers.

It’s a great way to spend a winter evening with your family. Oh, and don’t forget the hot chocolate!  

 

GUTZY STUFF:  Take a notebook to write down everything you see while it’s fresh in your mind.

Then look up your favorite critters in the Encyclopedia at National Geographic.

Write down amazing facts and you’ll learn alot and have a head start on your next science report.

 

5 facts about SEA STARS found at the National Geographic website.

  1. Most people call sea stars starfish, but they are not a fish. Instead, they are more closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars

  2. Most sea stars have five arms, which are evenly spaced around their bodies, but some have 10, 20 or 40 arms

  3. About 2,000 species of sea stars live in the earth’s oceans

  4. Sea Stars can live in the wild up to 35 years

  5. Their blood is actually made of filtered water

 

MORE GUTZY STUFF: Follow these GOOD MANNER tips the next time you are at the beach.

 

  • We look like Godzilla to marine critters, so slow down and walk SOFTLY to avoid stepping on them.

 

  • Think of beach rocks as marine condominiums. They are home to many marine animals that need a cool, wet, protected home. If you look under one, do so GENTLY and make sure you return the rock to its original position.

 

  • Seaweeds are living blankets. During low-tide animals hide under seaweed for SHELTER and protection. Try to avoid walking on seaweed beds so you won’t SQUISH these animals.

 

  • Take only photographs, not critters. Be HAPPY to enjoy them in their natural settings.

 

  • Use wet hands when touching the critters you find. Many of them have layers of slime to protect them from the sun and air, so dry hands can remove these protective layers.  

 

These tips were adapted from the Beach Watchers.

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