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Oceans Habitat

About Our Oceans Habitat

Get ready for three stories of thrills and some fantastic views in Aquatic Wonders, Mississippi Aquarium's oceans habitat, home to Mississippi Aquarium's saltwater animals.

Catch the escalator to the third floor to start your journey, but be on the lookout for some not-so-dangerous sharks.

Welcome to the third floor, designed to represent the surface of the ocean. This is where you'll find our touch pools for a unique hands-on experience.

As you make your way down the depths of the ocean, you'll see our hypnotic swirl habit and walk right through the middle of the ocean in our 360-degree tunnel. And at the end of your journey, you'll see a view of all of our saltwater animals like no other.


Oceans Habitat

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Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Green sea turtles are the only sea turtle that is strictly herbivorous in adulthood.

Their lifespan is unknown, but estimated to be over 80 years old.

They nest in over 80 countries.
 

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American Cownose Ray

American Cownose Ray

Cownose rays are a highly migratory schooling species along the Atlantic coast.

These rays have a wingspan of up to three feet and weigh up to 50 pounds.

They use their powerful dental plates to crush the shells of mollusks and invertebrates open.
 

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Green Moray

Green Moray

Green moray eels have poor eyesight and rely heavily on their sense of taste and smell to locate food.

Their skin is actually a grey-brown color, but is covered in a thick yellow mucus that protects them from parasites and diseases.
 

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Sandbar Shark

Sandbar Shark

Sandbar sharks are the most abundant species of large shark in the Western Atlantic.

These sharks average about 6 feet long and weigh between 110-150 pounds.
 

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Spotted Wobbegong Shark

Spotted Wobbegong Shark

Spotted wobbegongs are found off the southern and southeastern coasts of Australia.

They're sometimes referred to as "carpet sharks" because of their ruffled, rug-like appearance.

They grow continuous throughout life at a very slow pace.
 

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Zebra Shark

Zebra Shark

Zebra Sharks are nocturnal and hunt mollusks, crustaceans and small, bony fish.

These sharks use their barbels, sensory organs that look like whiskers, to locate prey.

Female sharks can lay several eggs at a time.
 

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Goliath Grouper

Goliath Grouper

Goliath grouper are the largest grouper species found in the Atlantic Ocean, weighing up to 800 pounds!

They grow 4 inches per year until they reach 6 years old, then growth slows.

They're an ambush predator who prey on large fishes, invertebrates, and even small sharks!
 

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Southern Stingray

Southern Stingray

Southern stingrays can grow to a total width of 79 inches.

They give live birth after a pregnancy lasting 4-7 months to around 10 pups per litter.

They're preyed on by larger fish like Lemon and Hammerhead sharks.
 

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Longspine Squirrelfish

Longspine Squirrelfish

Longspine squirrelfish are nocturnal and tend to stay in holes or caves during daylight.

They usually move in schools of 8-10 individuals.

They prefer depths of 30-70 meters, and are rare in shallow waters.
 

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Doctor Fish

Doctor Fish

Doctor fish, aka surgeonfish, are known for their sharp spines at the base of their tail that they use for defense.

They are important grazers on the reef and help control algae so that it doesn't grow over the corals and kill them.
 

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Vermilion Snapper

Vermilion Snapper

Vermilion snappers grow slowly. Typically they're around 2 feet long, 7 pounds, and can live up to 15 years.

They reproduce at 1-2 years old.
 

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Cottonwick Grunt

Cottonwick Grunt

Cottonwick grunts get their name from the grunting sound they produce by rubbing their flat teeth together.

They hang around reefs during the day and hunt for food at night.

Juveniles have horizontal bars that fade to yellow stripes with a black bar as they get older.
 

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Sheepshead

Sheepshead

Sheepshead are a euryhaline species, originating from waters with a salinity between 0 and 35 PPT.

They're typically 10-20 inches, but can sometimes grow to 35 inches.

They have incisor and molar-like teeth to help their omnivorous diet.
 

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Golden Trevally

Golden Trevally

Golden trevally form schools and are known to swim closely around sharks and other large fishes.

Juvenile trevally live among the tentacles of jellyfish.
 

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Atlantic Spadefish

Atlantic Spadefish

Atlantic spadefish are the only fish in its family to live in the Atlantic.

You can find these fish in large schools of over 500, living together.

There's a risk of contracting ciguatera poisoning from its flesh.
 

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Palometa Jack

Palometa Jack

Palometa jacks are a schooling fish with elongated dorsal and anal fins that extend toward their tails.

They can grow up to 20 inches long.
 

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Foureye Butterflyfish

Foureye Butterflyfish

Four eye butterflyfish rely on corals for habitat and food.

They have a false "eye" that confuses predators and makes the fish appear larger than they truly are.

They are a diurnal species that seek shelter at night to protect themselves from nocturnal predators.
 

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Yellowtail Snapper

Yellowtail Snapper

Yellowtail snappers are a swift-moving Atlantic species of fish with a broad, yellow stripe from the nose down the whole yellow tail.

These fish eat shrimp, crabs, worms, and fish.
 

Ways to Support Our Saltwater Animals

Support Sea Turtle Rehab

Kemp's ridleys are the most endangered species of sea turtle and are federally protected animals – facilities caring for and rehabilitating these turtles must adhere to strict guidelines. Since opening in 2020, Mississippi Aquarium has rehabilitated and released 20 Kemp's ridley turtles. Because Kemp's ridley turtles are native to the Gulf of Mexico, they can be released into the waters off the Mississippi coast upon completing rehabilitation. Currently, the Aquarium has 52 turtles undergoing rehabilitation. Last year the Aquarium spent over $7,000 on sea turtle rehabilitation.

Over the next several months, the team at the Aquarium could really use your support in caring for an influx of temporary residents!



Adopt a Turtle

Make an impact and participate in the Aquarium's Adopt An Animal Gift Program.

Recipients will receive a gift box that includes:
  • Adoption certificate
  • Plush sea turtle
  • Animal fact card
  • Signed Thank You note from the Mississippi Aquarium team
Best of all, 100% of your purchase directly supports the health and well-being of our animals!


Donate to Animal Enrichment

Mississippi Aquarium's animal enrichment program provides physically and mentally stimulating toys, activities, and environments for all of our animals. Enrichment allows our animals to demonstrate species-specific behavior found in their natural environments.

These items allow our animals to exercise control of their surroundings and enhance their well-being. Just like proper nutrition and veterinary care, animal enrichment is essential to animal welfare.



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