The largest and deepest ocean in the world, the Pacific extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to Antarctica in the south. It covers 46% of the earth’s water surface and is larger than any landmass on earth.
The vast body of water is home to some of the most unusual life forms on earth. These unique animals are part of the sea’s amazing ecological diversity.
The main seas of the Pacific are:
- Coral Sea.
- South China Sea.
- East China Sea.
- Bering Sea.
- Solomon Sea.
- Sea of Japan.
- Bali Sea.
- Gulf of California.
- Gulf of Tonkin.
The Pacific Ocean provides a rich feeding ground for many types of wildlife.
Important ecosystems of the Pacific include seagrass meadows, which are important breeding and feeding grounds for manatees and dugongs. Coral reefs are vital parts of the food chain. They support thousands of marine species, including reef fish, sharks, and sea turtles.
The Official National Animal of the Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean does not have its own national animal. Many countries border the Pacific. Here are the national animals of some of these countries.
Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in the Pacific Ocean
The coral reefs of the Pacific are some of the best places to see fish and marine mammals. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular tourist activities in many islands and coastal areas on the Pacific.
Whale watching, dolphin tours and birding are great opportunities to spot wildlife and waterfowl.
Many countries that border the Pacific have conservation areas where you can see this unique local wildlife.
The Most Dangerous Animals in the Pacific Ocean
The Pacific is home to many dangerous, aggressive sharks. The great white is one of the largest and deadliest predators in the ocean. They cause one-third of all shark attacks on humans.
Tiger sharks are almost as dangerous. They hunt close to the shore and will eat anything. They are responsible for several attacks on humans every year.
The Pacific Ocean’s sea snakes are some of the most venomous snakes in the world. Also known as coral reef snakes, they are long, colorful snakes who spend most of their lives in the water. Their bites are often painless, but they can be fatal.
The Pacific Ocean is home to many dangerous jellyfish. They include the sea nettle, which has a bell-like shape and can reach 3 feet. Its tentacles can be 15 feet long. The sea nettle’s sting is very painful to humans.
The box jellyfish causes more deaths than any other. The most venomous ones are in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Endangered Animals in the Pacific Ocean
- Bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas): This large, aggressive shark lives in the warmer regions of the Pacific.
- Sea otter: Sea otters almost became extinct. Hunting bans and conservation programs have helped their populations recover, but they are still endangered.
- Branch coral (Acropora florida): Branch coral is critical to healthy ocean ecosystems. Climate change and extreme weather events have caused its population to decline.
- Vaquita (Phoeocna sinus): This tiny porpoise is the smallest and most rare cetacean in the world. Vaquitas are unique to the Gulf of California. Vaquitas, whose name means “little cow,” are on the brink of becoming extinct. They are frequently killed by gillnets used in illegal fishing.
- Dugong (Dugong dugon): The sea cow is a large, gentle creature like a manatee. It lives in warm waters that are rich in seagrass, which it uses for food. Dugongs are protected, but some people hunt them for their skin, meat and bones.
- Whale shark (Rhincodon typus): The largest fish in the world, this giant can reach 40 feet or longer. Although they are huge, these sharks are harmless to humans. They feed on plankton and small fish.
- Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi): This seal is endemic to the Pacific coast of Hawaii. The monk seal is almost extinct.
A Vast Ocean of Wildlife
The Pacific Ocean is home to millions of unique creatures. From killer whales at the top of the food chain to sea slugs at the bottom, it is a vast ecosystem. Scientists have not finished identifying all the wildlife that lives in this deep ocean.
Pacific Ocean FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Kind of Animals Live in the Pacific Ocean?
- Birds: Penguins, puffins, albatrosses, terns, curlews, pelicans, herons and egrets.
- Marine mammals: Sea otters, manatees and dugongs.
- Fish: Salmon, cod, halibut, marlin, tuna, ladyfish, herring and sardines.
- Pinnipeds: Seals, fur seals, walruses and sea lions.
- Cetaceans: Whales, dolphins and porpoises.
- Mollusks: Clams, oysters and mussels.
- Shellfish: Shrimp, lobster, crabs and crayfish.
How Many Species Live in the Pacific Ocean?
There are currently 228,450 known species in the ocean. The exact number is unknown because scientists say more than 90% of ocean life remains unknown and unexplored. In 2020, biologists identified 1,500 new species. They estimate there may still be between 500,00 and 2 million more that have not been identified.
What Is the Most Dangerous Animal in the Pacific Ocean?
The most dangerous animal is the killer whale.
Killer whales, also known as orcas, are massive, aggressive killers who are at the top of the ocean food chain. They live in every region of the Pacific and every ocean and sea except the Arctic.
At over 25 feet long with rows of powerful teeth, the orca preys on large fish, dolphins, sharks, and whales. The largest killer whale population is in the northern Pacific near the Aleutian Islands.