What Animals Live on the Beach? 7 Examples with Pictures

We usually take our students to a farm or a petting zoo to see animals, but for a change, we teachers decided to take our students to a place where they could see animals in their natural habitat.

Having thought about it, we were faced with the dilemma as to where we could find a natural habitat for animals that would be safe and enjoyable for children.

Hearing of my dilemma, a friend suggested that I take my students to the beach.

I was surprised on hearing the suggestion as I did not know that the beach was a place where you would find different animals.

But being a zoologist, she told me that the beach is a natural habitat for several animals like snails, crabs, as well as seagulls, and many more. Some of the animals that live on the beach are as follows:

Animals that live on the beach:

  • Penguins
  • Crabs
  • Snails
  • Gulls
  • Barnacles
  • Starfishes
  • Seals

Table of Contents

List of animals that live on the beach:

1. Penguins

penguins on the beach 16042022

When we think of penguins, our mind goes to the majestic creatures found in Antarctica.

But these are Emperor penguins and their smaller cousins, the African penguins, are found on the beach.

These smaller penguins have a gait similar to that of Emperor penguins, and like their larger cousins, they live in colonies.

But the African penguins are curious creatures!

So you will often find them waddling around behind the boulders on the beaches of Africa.

But if they find something that arouses their curiosity, they are quick to take a nip at it.

So if you are planning to visit the African beaches to catch a sight of these lovely penguins, you should do it from a distance.

Even though they are one of the animals that are clumsy, these birds do not like to be disturbed, and you shouldn’t arouse their curiosity.

2. Crabs

crab on the beach 16042022

Crabs are the most common inhabitant of the sandy shores and it is common to see crabs scuttling away when you visit the beach.

These creatures also walk sideways when they are on the beach.

As crabs are excellent swimmers, you will mostly find them on the beach near the shoreline, intertidal, or sub-tidal zones.

Crabs are also known to dig holes into the sandy beach, and these are the perfect hiding places for the creatures.

The nervous system of crabs is quite complex, which makes it easier for the creature to adapt to harsh terrains.

Crabs are found on beaches of tropical and temperate regions across the world and you will also find that they can easily survive on beaches even when the sand becomes extremely hot.

More often than not, you will find seaweeds washed ashore and crabs are one of the ocean creatures that eat seaweeds.

3. Snails

snail on the beach 16042022

The typical habitats of snails are the seas and oceans across the world. However, you may sometimes find a snail or slug slithering around your garden.

This is primarily why you will find the creatures on the beaches all over the world.

When you see tidal pools and seawater trapped underneath boulders, you will often find snails trapped in these tiny water bodies.

In addition, snails often attach themselves to the plants and weeds growing on the beaches and the tidal pools along the beaches.

When we took our class to the beach nearby, the students had an exciting time hunting for snails.

You will often find snails of several sizes on the beach.

If you are lucky, you can even identify the larger species of snails beneath the overgrowth of plants along the shorelines.

4. Barnacles

barnacles on the beach 16042022

Barnacles are usually found floating on ocean waters, and when they attach themselves to an object, they cannot detach.

Hence, you can sometimes find driftwood with barnacles attached to it lying on the beach.

But in this case, these barnacles will die if the wood remains away from water for a long time. Only a few species of barnacles can survive out of water.

For example, Balanoides are known to survive without water for six weeks and you can find such barnacles attached to rocks in the sub-tidal regions of the beach.

The other barnacle that you will find on the beach is the Paraconcavus pacificus.

These barnacles attach themselves to other creatures like the sand dollar also known as a sand cookie.

5. Starfishes

turtle and starfish on beach 19022022

Starfish are unique creatures found in seas and oceans across the world. 

But these creatures are not actual inhabitants of the beach. Starfishes need to be underwater to breathe.

Moreover, they cannot move comfortably if they are stranded on the beach.

Starfishes have vascular tubes that help them move, and these are suitable only for movement in the water.

When you see a starfish trying to walk on the beach, it is trying to make its way toward the shoreline.

Starfishes always try to make their way to the water as it is their natural habitat and not the beach, but due to the tides and waves of the ocean, they can sometimes get washed ashore.

6. Gulls

seagulls on the beach 16042022

Seagulls are birds that are usually found in coastal regions. These birds are excellent hunters and are also scavengers.

You will often find gulls hunting crabs on the beach.

You will sometimes find gulls flying into the sea following fishing boats. The birds do this to scavenge fish and they can survive on both dead and live fish.

Once they have found suitable food, they will fly back to the beach.

Seagulls and other species of gulls live and build their nests in areas surrounding the beaches.

For example, the swallow-tailed gulls on Galapagos Islands are primarily found in the island’s coastal regions.

Another unique creature of the gulls is that these birds are migratory. They fly to warmer parts of the world during winter.

But this behavior is unique to the gulls found in the colder regions.

7. Seals

seal on the beach 16042022

Seals are often found lying on the beach that has close access to the sea’s warm waters.

The creatures love the warm sandy beaches with lots of crustaceans, fishes, and other animals that they can survive on.

The creatures are also capable of hunting penguins, which is possible only when they are on the beach.

Seals are also excellent swimmers, and they can quickly move from the beach to the sea.

You will also find harbor seals on the rivers, estuaries, sandbars, and even rocky coves.

Seals prefer sea beaches as the sand makes movement easier for the creature when on land.

In addition, they enjoy lying on the beach in the warm sun.

Seals usually start hunting during high tide, and during low tide, they will lie on the beach and digest the food.


The animals that live on the beach are penguins, crabs, snails, barnacles, gulls, starfishes, and seals. Some of these creatures will periodically wash up on the sands along the shores and generally prefer rocky areas just below sea levels.

The beaches are also a good place to see shorebirds such as penguins, plovers, and gulls.


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