Weird creatures you can find in British rock pools from punk hair to angel wings


We know more about space and the moon than we do about some of the ancient life forms in our seas.

Despite British rock pools teeming with life, there are still a few creatures in them we barely understand.

But now thanks to a boom in staycations as a result of the pandemic, there has been a surge in this childhood pursuit encouraging a new generation to grab their buckets and get their feet wet.

The Daily Mirror joined Sussex Wildlife Trusts this week at Ovingdean beach, near Brighton, during an early low tide to discover all the weird and wonderful creatures that can be found.

Nikki Hills, Wild Coast Sussex Project Manager said: “You don’t need any special equipment.

“Wear a sturdy pair of shoes as the rocks can be very slippy and bring a bucket or plastic container.

“But leave your nets at home as they can be very damaging to the wildlife, in particular crabs who can get their legs caught.

“It is a great way to get children interested in the marine environment by appreciating all the small and amazing things we have hidden under rocks.

“And what you find can help conservation efforts. Take pictures and report any unusual sightings to your local wildlife trusts.”

Things you might find
Hermit Crab

Lives in an empty spiral shell, moving up sizes as it grows. When inside, its right pincer seals the entrance.

Velvet Swimming Crab

Bright red eyes give this its other name of devil crab. Hiding under rocks low on sheltered coasts, it’s feisty, snapping with claws if threatened.

Common Starfish

Usually orange in colour, it can also be brownish or purple.

It is instantly recognisable from its five-armed shape, with some having six.

Snakelocks anemone

Harnesses solar power through symbiotic algae, which live in its bright green stinging tentacles.

The algae turn sunlight into energy for the anemone, which is why you’ll find them in the sunniest spots.

Beadlet anemone

Defends by deploying a ring of bright blue beads full of stinging cells to battle opponents.


Returning to their home patch, these cone-shelled will clamp tight until the tides cover them.

Tompot blenny


Also known as angel wings, they are responsible for the holes in the chalk.

Rules of seashore
Handle anemones, limpets, and other animals living on rocks with care
Use hands – not nets