Shoreline Holiday Cottages Guide To Whitby’s Rock Pool Marine Life

With a huge variety of marine life to be found in Whitby's rock pools, here’s a guide to help you identify some.

Each year many people are drawn to Whitby to enjoy a number of different activities. Some people like to relax in their Whitby holiday cottages; others enjoy the busy town, whilst many people enjoy walking along the beaches and coastal walkways. Walking along one of the local beaches, it’s hard not to be tempted to investigate one of the many rock pools formed through years of natural erosion caused by the sea. Children especially enjoy the excitement of finding foreign and interesting marine life, hidden beneath the stones and rocky ledges. In addition to being enjoyable it can be a fun way to teach them about nature and inform them about how the marine life interacts with their temporary rock pool environments. Here are some marine creatures you can try to spot, when rock pooling in and around Whitby’s shoreline.

The Common Sea Urchin

The common sea urchin can be found in rock pools and on exposed rocks all around the UK’s coastline. Despite looking more like an exotic plant, the sea urchin is in fact a predator and has a powerful beak, capable of clearing most rocky surfaces of small marine life. The Common Sea Urchin is able to anchor itself in heavy seas or when tides are rushing out by using its tubular, tendril like feet.  The Common Sea Urchin helps sustain a balanced feeding environment and can themselves become prey to several sea birds.

The Common Shrimp

One of the harder common rock pool inhabitants to spot, the common shrimp spends much of its time buried under the sand, especially in daylight. However, if you disturb the sand in the rock pool and concentrate on the more shaded areas for movement, you might be able to spot one. The common shrimp is mainly translucent, with some sandy-like mottling visible on its upper side. It could be described as looking like a small, translucent lobster, without the large front claws. Capable of growing up to around 8 cms, but normally found at around 2 to 3 cms, the common shrimp prefers to walk, unless threatened, when it can quickly swim and dart out the way of a predator’s attack.

The Two-spotted Goby

While the Two-spotted Goby can be found moving in small shoals, smaller ones can occasionally find themselves washed into rock pools. Unlike other varieties of Goby, the Two-Spotted Goby seemingly prefers to move along the walls of harbours and rock pools, seeking shelter and feeding off the algae. Quite well camouflaged, but recognisable by the black spots above its fins, the Two-Spotted Goby typically moves in a darting/swimming motion.
The next time you’re staying in a Whitby holiday cottage why not take a stroll along the beach and see how many of the above sea creatures you can find.

For more information regarding Whitby holiday cottages please call Shoreline on 01904 607087 or email

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