Given their unique appearance, unusual swimming style and the fact that the males become pregnant; seahorses are perhaps the most charmingly enigmatic group of all fishes.

Chester Zoo has a long history of successfully keeping and breeding seahorses. We currently keep a species called big-bellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis). Our aquarists are experts at breeding seahorses, with an outstanding 99% breeding success rate, and we distribute babies to other zoos and aquariums across the world.

Our seahorses eat tiny marine invertebrates, some of which are no bigger than a pin-head! However, even these food items are too big for planktonic baby seahorses, which eat microscopic zooplankton in the wild.

Read more

Interesting facts

Where they live: Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world

Habitat: Sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, coral reefs and mangroves.

Size: At less than 15mm tall, the Pygmy Seahorse is the smallest seahorse in the world. The largest seahorse species can reach to over 35cm.

Threats: Potentially unsustainable collection for international trade - including Traditional Chinese Medicine, private aquariums and curios (dried and sold as gifts).  Incidental by-catch in weighted bottom trawling nets. Pollution and extensive habitat loss resulting from coastal developments and destructive fishing techniques.