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There are thousands of reasons to visit the South Carolina Aquarium. We are home to over 4,500 animals! Get to know a few of our favorite residents and learn some fun facts about each below.

American Alligator
American Alligator
Reason #74

American alligators have 74-80 teeth at one time – that’s one big, toothy grin!

American Kestrel
American Kestrel | Phoenix
Reason #2009

Phoenix landed on a live electrical wire as a fledgling, losing a talon and a toe. She couldn’t be released back into the wild, so in 2009 she came to the Aquarium.

Atlantic Spadefish
Atlantic Spadefish
Reason #46

Spadefish have 4-6 vertical black bands on their bodies that fade with age.

Atlantic Tripletail
Atlantic Tripletail
Reason #84

Tripletail live at leisure, or so it seems. They’re often observed drifting in 84° waters, resembling clumps of leaves floating by.

Bald Eagle Liberty
Bald Eagle | Liberty
Reason #7

Surprising to many, Liberty only weighs 7 pounds.

Barn Owl Pippen
Barn Owl | Pippen
Reason #33

Pippen was named after Scottie Pippen, #33 for the Chicago Bulls.

Barracuda
Barracuda
Reason #27

Barracuda can reach speeds of up to 27 mph attempting to catch prey with their razor-sharp teeth.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
Reason #1789

Brown pelicans were first spotted in the Charleston Harbor in 1789. They are the only pelicans in the world that are not white!

Caribbean Spiny Lobster
Caribbean Spiny Lobster
Reason #22

Spiny lobsters don’t have claws – they have 2 antennae for protection and 2 smaller antennules that sense changes in the water.

Chain Dogfish
Chain Dogfish
Reason #47

Chain dogfish like the cold and are cozy in 47°F water temperatures!

Common Octopus
Common Octopus
Reason #3

Octopus not only have eight arms, but they have 3 hearts. There’s a lot to love!

Cownose Ray
Cownose Ray
Reason #10,000

Cownose rays often travel in large schools. In some areas, up to 10,000 rays can be seen migrating together!

Diamondback Terrapin
Diamondback Terrapin
Reason #78

Back in 2009, 78 terrapins crossed the runway at John F. Kennedy Airport in search of nesting grounds, causing nearly two-hour flight delays!

Eastern Indigo Snake
Eastern Indigo Snake
Reason #8

Eastern indigo snakes are the longest snake native to the U.S., reaching lengths of over 8 feet.

Goliath Grouper
Goliath Grouper | Mel
Reason #800

Goliath grouper can weigh up to 800 lbs. That’s almost as much as a smart car!

Gopher Tortoise
Gopher Tortoise
Reason #360

Gopher tortoises are known for their digging abilities. The burrows they create help shelter at least 360 other species.

Green Moray Eel
Green Moray Eel
Reason #31

See that long fin on their slimy green body? That’s actually 3 fins that fused into 1!

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle
Reason #80

Green sea turtles are world travelers – they nest on the beaches of over 80 countries!

Green Tree Frog
Green Tree Frog
Reason #2.5

Green tree frogs use their color as a camouflage against predators. They only grow to about 2.5 inches in length!

Triggerfish
Grey Triggerfish
Reason #42

The grey triggerfish is just one of 42 species in the triggerfish family.

Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe Crab
Reason #6

Horseshoe crabs have 6 gills that help them breathe underwater.

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
Reason #40,000

Kemp’s ridleys are known to nest in mass events, called arribadas. At one point, 40,000 Kemp’s ridleys were caught on film!

Lionfish
Lionfish
Reason #30

Lionfish love to eat. Their stomachs can expand 30 times its normal size.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Reason #1988

Loggerhead sea turtles became South Carolina’s state reptile in 1988.

Moon Jelly
Reason #4

Moon jellies can be easily distinguished by the 4 translucent horshoe shapes seen near their center.

Northern Pintail
Northern Pintail | Penny
Reason #14,914

Don’t be fooled by their tiny body – northern pintails like Penny have 14,914 feathers, give or take a few!

Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark
Reason #40

In the wild, nurse sharks like to pile on top of each other to rest, sometimes in groups of 40 or more.

Porcupinefish
Porcupinefish
Reason #2

Porcupinefish teeth are fused together, appearing as 2 plates on the top and bottom of their mouth.

Purple Sea Urchin
Purple Sea Urchin
Reason #5

Urchins have 5 teeth arranged in a circle, called Aristotle’s Lantern.

River Otter
River Otter | Ace
Reason #350,000

Ace was named after the Ace Basin, 350,000 acres of protected habitat for wildlife in South Carolina.

Robust Redhorse
Robust Redhorse
Reason #122

Robust redhorse were rediscovered after 122 years of supposed extinction.

Sand Tiger Shark
Reason #1,000

Sharks typically go through 1,000 teeth annually.

Sea Star
Sea Star
Reason #1

Look closely – sea stars have 1 orange dot that pumps water into their bodies.

Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major
Reason #56

Sergeant majors have 5 distinct stripes plus an occasional 6th stripe on their tail. Because of these stripes, they are named for the sergeant major military rank.

Slipper Lobster
Slipper Lobster
Reason #500

Slipper lobsters are typically bottom dwellers, found at depths of up to 500 meters (1,600 feet).

Yellow Rat Snake
Yellow Rat Snake
Reason #60

Yellow rat snakes are quite arboreal – some have been known to climb trees 60 feet high!

Visit your favorite animal today!
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