The octopus has topped a poll of favourite species at Torquay's Living Coasts, and the eye-popping mudskipper is a hit as well!
Staff and volunteers voted for their Living Coasts top ten - and the results make interesting reading.
Alongside the obvious crowd-pleasers like the penguins and seals, staff have highlighted the variety of unusual species at Torquay’s coastal zoo and aquarium. Spokesman Phil Knowling said: “It might surprise people who think Living Coasts is just about birds, because the top ten is made up of four marine species, three bird species, two mammals and a reptile!”
After the octopus came macaroni penguin and fur seal. African penguin and bank cormorants were the only other birds on the final list. Otter and leopard gecko featured, as did puffer fish, upside down jellyfish and mudskippers. Just outside the top ten were four-eyed fish, Inca terns and seahorses.
“A total of 99 votes were cast. We had votes for 22 different species, including 8 marine species and 11 sorts of bird," said Mr Knowling.
Living Coasts keeper Lee Mach explained two of his choices: “Octopus are beautiful and smart with great personalities – they’re mischievous as well as mysterious.”
Lee also voted for seahorses: “It’s amazing how such an elegant and fragile creature can survive in the sea.”
Educator Mark Hancock added: “I voted for upside down jellyfish because there is a great story to tell about them – the symbiotic relationship between the jellyfish and the algae that live within. And bank cormorants, because of the great conservation message, their great displays - and they are fun when they come to the penguin feed!”
Living Coasts is marking its tenth birthday with a series of events themed around the number ten. Visitors will be able to vote for their own top ten Living Coasts animals during February half term.