19 Animals That Live in Water

Animals That Live in Water
By depositphotos.com

A vast and mysterious environment, the world of water is home to many fascinating animals.

From the ocean floor to the quiet waters of streams and lakes, the world of animals that live in water is as diverse as it is intriguing. 

Due to the incredible adaptations they have developed to live in their aquatic surroundings, these intriguing organisms display an astounding range of shapes, sizes, and behaviors.

We have always been fascinated by aquatic animals, whether they are fierce predators like alligators and crocodiles or graceful swimmers like dolphins and whales. 

In our article, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of aquatic animals that live in water, learning about their habitats, diets, and incredible characteristics that make them unique.

1. Narwhal

Narwhals - Animals With Tusks
by Jes Simpson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of the remarkable aquatic creatures with distinct and attractive traits is the narwhal. Most people rarely see these elusive creatures found in the Arctic Ocean. 

The most distinguishing characteristic of the narwhal is its long tusk, which is basically an expanded tooth that can grow up to 10 feet long.

It is mainly found in males and is used for a wide range of tasks, including food detection, navigation, and even social interactions. 

Narwhals consume squid and other crustaceans in addition to fish. Narwhals’ sleek bodies allow them to dive to extraordinary depths in search of prey.

An essential element of the Arctic ecology, narwhals maintain the balance of marine life.

2. Manatees

by USFWS Endangered Species is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Manatees, sometimes known as sea cows, are friendly herbivorous mammals that inhabit warm coastal seas all around the world.

These intriguing species can be discovered at the surface or at the bottom of rivers, estuaries, and shallow coastal environments. 

A manatee’s paddle-like tail, linked to a massive, globular body covered in thick, wrinkly skin, is used to navigate through the water.

They mostly consume aquatic plants, such as seagrass, algae, and other flora.

Manatees are known for their placid dispositions and slow movements; they mostly engage in sleeping and feeding activities. 

These gentle aquatic creatures can grow to a maximum length of 13 feet and 1,000 pounds. 

3. Jellyfish

by Clicksy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jellyfish are fascinating creatures that may be found in oceans all over the world.

Invertebrate creatures called jellyfish are classified as Scyphozoa. The characteristics that distinguish jellyfish from other animals. 

These aquatic creatures, whose bell-shaped bodies are comprised of a gelatinous substance and with tentacles hanging below, defy belief.

They attack and defend themselves using nematocysts, which sting cells on these tentacles. 

Jellyfish come in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns, from tiny and transparent to large and brilliant.

They can travel through the water because of their radial symmetry and the rhythmic pulsations of their bell-shaped bodies. 

While the majority of a jellyfish’s diet consists of plankton, tiny fish, and other marine creatures

4. Eel

by Elias Levy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A distinctive aquatic creature, eels are known for their long, slender bodies. It belongs to a big fish family that includes species that may exist in saltwater and freshwater environments.

Eels have a unique life cycle where they start as translucent larvae in the ocean and then move to freshwater rivers and streams to mature. 

These incredible animals can thrive in various habitats, from deep ocean trenches to shallow coastal seas. Eels eat a wide range of creatures, including small mammals, fish, and crabs. 

They eat animal flesh. They can fit through tight spaces and burrow into the mud, which helps them travel fast through their surroundings.

Eels are highly valued for the important ecological functions they perform.

5. Dugong

by Ruth and Dave is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A unique marine mammal in the coastal waters surrounding Australia, Southeast Asia, and Africa is the dugong, scientifically known as the Dugong dugon.

The dugong resembles a huge, calm sea cow linked to manatees. 

These herbivorous animals that live in water graze around the ocean floor with their unique lips, feeding on seagrass and other plants that grow in shallow water.

Due to the peculiar nature of their reproductive system, dugongs give birth to live young after the males fertilize the female’s eggs inside her. 

Dugongs move gracefully and elegantly through the water thanks to their sleek body and robust tails.

Due to their vulnerability, dugongs are at risk of losing their habitat, becoming polluted, and becoming unintentionally tangled in fishing nets.

Their conservation is essential for preserving biodiversity and ecological balance.

6. Dolphins

River Dolphins - Animals that Eat Fish
by MicheSA is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dolphins, also known as Delphinus in the scientific community, are amazing aquatic mammals living in waters worldwide.

Dolphins have made a flawless adaptation to their aquatic habitat because of their streamlined bodies and exceptional agility. 

These extremely gregarious animals that live in water exhibit a variety of intriguing behaviors and dwell in groups called pods.

Dolphins are carnivores that consume a variety of fish, squid, and crustaceans in their diet.

They are renowned for their intelligence and have the capacity for sophisticated problem-solving, communication, and learning. 

Dolphins are renowned for their beautiful motions and acrobatic performances, frequently leaping out of the water.

Females of these majestic animals that live in water give birth to one calf at a time through sexual reproduction. 

7. Cuttlefish

by Cocayhi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cuttlefish, scientifically known as Sepiida, are fascinating creatures that inhabit temperate and tropical waters across the world.

These marine animals, closely related to octopuses and squids, possess remarkable features that set them apart. 

Cuttlefish are known for their ability to change the color and pattern of their skin, allowing them to blend seamlessly with their surroundings.

They have an organ called a chromatophore that enables them to create intricate and mesmerizing displays on their skin. 

Cuttlefish are highly intelligent and have been observed to solve problems and learn from their experiences. They primarily feed on small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. 

One interesting aspect of their reproductive behavior is that they attach their eggs to the fins of a host fish, which carries them until they hatch.

With their unique adaptations and captivating behaviors, cuttlefish are truly captivating examples of animals that live in water.

8. Crocodiles

Crocodiles, scientifically known as Crocodylidae, are formidable reptiles that inhabit the warm waters of Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

These aquatic predators are well-adapted to their freshwater habitats, which include swamps, marshes, and rivers. 

With their large size and powerful jaws, crocodiles are apex predators, sitting at the top of the food chain with no natural enemies.

Their diet consists mainly of fish, turtles, and rodents, although they are capable of taking down larger prey. 

These animals that live in water are known for their ambush hunting tactics, patiently waiting for their unsuspecting prey to come close before launching a swift and deadly attack.

With sharp teeth and incredible strength, crocodiles can crush bones effortlessly.

Their remarkable adaptations and predatory nature make them one of the most fascinating and fearsome animals that live in water.

9. Crayfish

by Gareth1953 All Right Now is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Crayfish, scientifically known as Palinuridae, are fascinating freshwater crustaceans in various parts of the world.

These small creatures inhabit streams, ponds, and other bodies of water, showcasing their adaptability to different aquatic environments. 

Crayfish are primarily omnivorous, with their diet consisting mostly of plant material.

However, these animals living in water are opportunistic feeders and will consume small invertebrates when available. 

These crustaceans reproduce through internal fertilization, where the male transfers sperm to the female’s mouth. The eggs are then fertilized internally and carried by the female until they hatch.

With their distinct appearance and intriguing behaviors, crayfish add diversity and vitality to the world of aquatic animals.

10. Crabs

Mud Crabs - types of crabs in Australia
by darkday. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Crabs, scientifically known as Brachyura, are fascinating crustaceans that inhabit saltwater and freshwater environments worldwide.

They are commonly found in estuaries, bodies of water that connect rivers and the ocean.

Crabs have adapted to life in and around the water with their hard exoskeletons and distinctive sideways walking. 

Depending on the species, these versatile animals that live in water can be herbivores or carnivores.

Some crabs feed on algae and other aquatic plants, while others prey on smaller animals in their environment.

They play a vital role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems by controlling populations of other organisms. 

Crabs are known for their ability to regenerate lost limbs, a remarkable adaptation that enables them to recover from injuries.

With their fascinating behaviors and unique adaptations, crabs are integral to the diverse array of animals that call water their home.

11. Coral

by halseike is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Coral, scientifically known as Anthozoa, is a fascinating marine creature in saltwater and freshwater environments worldwide.

These small, invertebrate animals in the water attach themselves to rocks or other submerged objects, forming intricate colonies known as coral reefs. 

With their vibrant colors and intricate structures, coral reefs provide essential habitats for diverse marine life.

Coral polyps, the organisms that make up the reef, have tentacles equipped with stinging cells called nematocysts, which they use to capture their prey, including plankton and fish eggs. 

Corals primarily rely on capturing small organisms for their nutritional needs as carnivores.

They also engage in a mutually beneficial relationship with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, which live within their tissues and provide them with energy through photosynthesis.

Coral reefs are not only awe-inspiring natural wonders but also crucial ecosystems that support countless species and contribute to the overall health of our oceans.

12. Codfish


Codfish, scientifically known as Gadus morhua, are also fascinating aquatic animals that live in water that inhabit the Atlantic Ocean, particularly the regions near Iceland, Norway, and Greenland.

These fish have adapted to their marine environment by residing within depths of up to 200 meters, where they find ample protection from predators and an abundant supply of prey. 

As carnivorous creatures, codfish have a diverse diet consisting primarily of other fish and invertebrates. Their robust bodies, covered in scales, allow them to thrive in the oceanic habitat. 

With their keen swimming abilities and sharp teeth, codfish play an essential role in the marine food chain.

Their presence contributes to the ecological balance and biodiversity of the Atlantic waters, highlighting the incredible diversity of animals that call the ocean their home.

13. Clownfish

Clownfish - Animals With Stripes
by edanley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Clownfish, captivating inhabitants of the ocean, are vibrant and intriguing fish found near coral reefs in the Red Sea and Pacific Oceans.

These unique fish boast bright colors and possess bodies resembling anemones, a family of stinging animals. 

Despite their striking appearance, clownfish are known for their friendly and non-aggressive nature, only resorting to defensive measures when feeling threatened.

As omnivores, they primarily feed on small crustaceans but can adapt their diet to include other protein sources. 

Clownfish contribute to the delicate balance of the underwater ecosystem, playing a vital role in the coral reef community.

Their fascinating behaviors and symbiotic relationships, such as their association with anemones, make them a remarkable species among the diverse animals living in the water.

14. Clams

by Kathleen Tyler Conklin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Clams are amazing creatures with a wide variety of species that may be found in saltwater areas all over the world.

Clams are marine animals that stick to rocks or other submerged objects in the ocean. 

They can be as small as one inch long or as long as eight inches. Their specialized feeding mechanisms draw plankton and other organic matter from the water as filter feeders.

They can survive in many coastal locations because of their capacity to adapt to different maritime environments. 

By preserving the quality of the water and acting as a food source for other marine species, clams contribute significantly to the ecology.

Clams are a significant contributor to the diverse variety of aquatic ecosystems due to their distinctive traits and extensive geographic range..

15. Catfish

by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Catfish, fascinating creatures found in fresh and saltwater environments, are a type of fish with a distinctive appearance.

They possess a long, slender body and a wide head adorned with barbels, sensory organs resembling whiskers.

Catfish use these barbels to navigate their surroundings and locate food on the river or lake bottom. 

As omnivores, these animals that live in water have a versatile diet that includes small invertebrates, plants, and even the occasional small fish.

Their adaptability allows them to thrive in various water habitats around the world.

With their unique features and diverse species, catfish contribute to the rich biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems.

16. Barnacles

by USFWS/Southeast is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Small crustaceans, known as barnacles, are intriguing aquatic animals that can be found worldwide.

These unusual creatures attach themselves to a variety of objects, including rocks, ships, and even whale skin.

Barnacles construct a haven for themselves with their tough outer shells, filtering plankton from the water to support their omnivorous diet. 

Barnacles are hardy sea organisms that can survive in a variety of severe situations.

Their presence increases the richness and complexity of aquatic habitats, highlighting how adaptable life is below the waves.

17. Anglerfish

by Jeremy A.A. Knight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The anglerfish is a strange animal that dwells in the gloomy depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans. It is a fascinating resident of temperate and tropical waters worldwide. 

This fish has a special adaptation to lure in unaware prey: an extended, fleshy spine that protrudes from its head.

The anglerfish is a carnivorous predator with a sizable mouth and pointed teeth that eat small fish, crabs, and other invertebrates. 

The anglerfish is renowned for its hunting strategy and the interesting bioluminescent lures and appendages on its head that resemble human arms.

Due to these unique characteristics, the anglerfish is a fascinating and enigmatic creature in the undersea world.

18. Angelfish

French Angelfish - What Animal Mates for Life?
by Paul and Jill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Underwater organisms known as angelfish thrive in tropical waters and brighten up shallow coral reefs with their presence.

Angelfish are a variety of reef fish that captivate people with their stunning colors and patterns. 

They can be found at depths of up to 600 feet beneath the surface in South American tropical seas, which they call home.

Being omnivores, angelfish mostly eat small crustaceans. Still, when other sources of protein are present, they will also eat them.

Divers and snorkelers exploring the world beneath the seas find them to be a captivating sight, thanks to their versatility and beautiful motions.

19. Alligator

Alligators - Animals With Yellow Eyes
by trishhartmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lastly, the powerful reptile known as the alligator is on our list of fascinating animals that live in water.

The southeastern United States is home to these big carnivores that prefer watery environments, including swamps, marshes, and rivers.

Apex predators like alligators are at the top of the food chain and have no natural enemies. They mostly eat fish, turtles, and rodents because of their strong jaws and pointed teeth. 

On occasion, they have been observed killing larger prey, though.

They are perfectly adapted for a life in the water because of their strong physique and remarkable adaptability, where they govern as ferocious lords of their watery territories.


In conclusion, the variety of animals that live in water exemplifies aquatic life’s incredible flexibility and complexity.

Each species has developed distinctive characteristics and behaviors adapted to their aquatic environments, from powerful predators like alligators and crocodiles to delicate animals like narwhals and sea otters

Animals that live in water perform crucial roles in preserving the harmony of aquatic ecosystems, whether in the complex ecosystems of coral reefs, the depths of the ocean, or the serene waters of rivers and lakes.

They serve as examples of the tremendous adaptability and beauty of the natural world by surviving and thriving in these conditions.

Our grasp of biodiversity is deepened by studying and enjoying these animals that live in water, and it is also made clear how crucial it is to preserve and maintain their vulnerable habitats.

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