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Interesting Facts about Seahorses

Want to learn some cool seahorse facts for kids? You’ll find them in this post. We’ll talk about their habits, diet, courtship, and more!

Yellow seahorse

Physical Description

Seahorses have a horse-shaped head with small eyes, a long snout, and a puckered mouth. A seahorse has two fins on either side of its head.  The seahorse has a long body with a bent neck and a snakelike tail.

The body of a seahorse is covered with tiny, hard plates. A seahorse has two fins on its body.  One fin is on the back, and the other one is at the base of the tail. 

Seahorses come in a variety of colors. They can be yellow, orange, pink, or gray.

A seahorse’s length can range from less than an inch to more than a foot.


Seahorses live in shallow, tropical and temperate coastal waters all over the world. Seahorses are a type of marine animal that usually lives in the oceans.

Some species of seahorse can also live in rivers.  The habitat of a seahorse ranges from coral reefs to mangroves.


Seahorses are slow swimmers. A seahorse has only a small dorsal fin on its back to help it move forward. A seahorse uses the fins that are on each side of its head to steer. These fins are called pectoral fins.

The seahorse swims upright while using its swim bladder to move its body up and down. If the seahorse wants to move upward, the gas in the swim bladder will increase. The swim bladder allows some gas out if the seahorse needs to move down.

The ability to move through water in this way is one reason why seahorses are great hunters. Another reason that seahorses are great hunters is the way they use their tails. The tail of a seahorse is called a prehensile tail because the tail is used to hold onto things.

A seahorse will wrap its tail around anything that can be used as an anchor. The seahorse then springs up and catches prey as the prey swims overhead.

Blue seahorse


Seahorses spend most of their time eating. Seahorses are carnivores that eat other marine animals like plankton, tiny fish, and shrimp. Seahorses also eat plants like kelp and seaweed. 

Seahorses eat their food whole because they don’t have teeth. They use their snouts like vacuum cleaners and suck their prey in. The seahorse can expand its snout to make room for prey. Seahorses digest food very fast, so they must eat continuously to survive.


A pair of male and female seahorses perform a courtship dance before they mate. The female joins the male in his territory for several days. Seahorses will dance by copying each other’s movements.

The male seahorse will spiral around the female, or both seahorses will spiral around an object. Seahorses often change colors during this courtship dance.

pregnant seahorse

The pair of seahorses do this courtship dance over a few days’ time. The female will then deposit her eggs into the brood pouch of the male seahorse. While in the pouch, the eggs get everything they need to survive.

The male carries the eggs for two to four weeks.  A male seahorse pregnancy is similar to a human pregnancy. A male seahorse can take up to twelve hours to give birth.

Baby seahorses come out of their eggs fully formed and must care for themselves. Baby seahorses hunt and eat about 3000 pieces of food a day.

They will sometimes hold tails with their brothers and sisters. It takes about nine months for a baby sea horse to become an adult. In most cases, only one baby out of a thousand survives. This is because baby seahorses are eaten by predators or get swept away from their habitat.


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Syngnathiformes

Family: Syngnathidae

Genus: Hippocampus


Scientists believe that seahorses split from their pipefish cousins about 25 million years ago. The bodies of water around Asia and Australia changed about this time. Seahorses began swimming upright to adapt to the newly formed shallow waters.

Iridescent seahorse


Due to their size, seahorses have many predators. Predators range from stingrays, crabs, small fish and even penguins.

The most dangerous predators of seahorses are humans. Human populations cause habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution. Humans also hunt seahorses.

Seahorses are hunted for many reasons. One of the reasons is that people use seahorses to make medicine. Seahorses are also hunted to be sold as souvenirs, crafts, and jewelry.

Finally, sea horses are caught to be sold as pets. It's illegal to buy and sell seahorses in most parts of the world. There are four species of seahorse that are listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List.


We don’t know how long a seahorse lives in the wild. Seahorses live between one and five years in captivity.

The smaller species of seahorse live for about one year. The larger species of seahorse live between three and five years.

red seahorse

25+ Unusual Facts about Seahorses

  1. Seahorses got their names because their heads are shaped like a horse’s head.
  2. We have discovered at least 47 seahorse species.
  3. 2 species of seahorse have been discovered in the Thames River.
  4. Seahorses are fish, but they don’t have scales.
  5. Seahorses are the slowest swimmers of all fish species.
  6. A seahorse’s dorsal fin beats up to 30 times a second.
  7. Seahorses can eat up to 50 times a day.
  8. Seahorses can eat as much as 3,000 brine shrimp in one day.
  9. A group of seahorses is called a “herd”.
  10. Some species of seahorse mate for life.
  11. A female seahorse can deposit up to 1500 eggs into the male’s pouch at once.
  12. Scientists believe that seahorses are the fastest evolving fish.
  13. A seahorse’s eyes move independently of one another.
  14. Seahorses have crowns that are as distinct as human fingerprints.
  15. The territory of a male seahorse is about 1 and ½ feet.
  16. The territory of a female seahorse is about 5 feet.
  17. Seahorses change color to avoid predators and during courtship.
  18. A baby seahorse is the size of a jellybean when it is born.
  19. The Satomi’s Pygmy seahorse is the smallest seahorse. It’s no bigger than a human fingernail.
  20. The Big-bellied seahorse is the largest seahorse. It’s over a foot long.
  21. Scientists struggle to categorize seahorses because members of the same species appear very different from each other.
  22. A seahorse swims to deeper waters in the winter to avoid bad storms.
  23. Captive seahorses collected from the wild do not do well as pets.
  24. Seahorses don’t make good pets for children because they need special care.
  25. Seahorses can’t smell.
  26. Seahorses sleep with their eyes open.
  27. The US has 10 species of seahorse.
  28. Seahorses don’t have stomachs.
  29. Some seahorse species are nocturnal.
  30. The pipefish and seadragon are the closest seahorse relatives.
  31. The Dwarf seahorse is the slowest moving fish in the world, according to the Guinness World Records.

We hope you enjoyed learning about seahorses! Did you learn anything new? Let us know what other facts you know. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Want to read more about other fish? Check out these posts!