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Animals You Probably Didn’t Realize Existed in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico Sea LifeThe Gulf of Mexico is home to a rich variety of wildlife—more than 15,420 species, to be exact. The biodiversity here is truly amazing.

Here are some animals you probably didn’t realize existed in the Gulf of Mexico:

Killer whales (orcas)

Shamu has quite a few cousins in the Gulf of Mexico. About 500 orcas live here, feeding on tuna and even dolphins in the deep water far from land.


Multiple species of sharks live in the Gulf. Some, like the nurse shark, are perfectly harmless, and others, like thresher sharks, rarely approach shallow water. Lifeguards will post purple and/or red beach closure flags if dangerous sharks have been spotted in the area.

Atlantic silver hatchetfish

These fish won’t win any beauty contests, but they sure are cool. Hatchetfish use bioluminescence to attract prey close enough to catch without expending too much energy.

Bighead sea robin

At least 12 species of sea robins live in the Gulf, using their wing-like fins to glide through the water. They can also use the elongated rays of their pelvic fins to “walk” on surfaces, where they look for worms and small shrimp to eat.

Diamondback terrapin

This native turtle makes its home in the brackish coastal swamps of the Gulf. Its skin is largely impervious to salt water.

No need to worry about sharks on your beach vacation. You’ll be perfectly safe on a rental jet ski from Woody’s Watersports in Madeira Beach. Who knows—you might even meet a dolphin or two. Make your reservation online with us now!

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