It’s that time of year again when we’re all dreaming of our summer holidays. Luckily, ARKive species have shared their favourite holiday postcards with us. Whether you’re staying at home or jetting off to an exotic location, ARKive’s Top Ten beach shots will get you in the mood for sand, sun and swimming.
Who wouldn’t want to walk along a beach that’s this beautiful? King penguins are very sociable birds – they live in groups ranging from 30 individuals to hundreds of thousands, on beaches in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Coconut crabs live on idyllic tropical islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans and can grow up to one metre long! Coconut crabs climb palm trees and pinch off coconuts with their powerful claws. If the coconut doesn’t break open when it hits the ground, the crabs use their sharp legs to get the flesh inside.
Check out the athleticism of this striated caracara! Running along the beach with its wings spread, it looks like it’s practicing for the London 2012 Olympics.
Although the gewa – a type of mangrove – looks pretty along the seashore, it’s actually poisonous. Natives in New Guinea use the sap as an ingredient in arrow poison to hunt fish. In some countries it’s known as ‘Blind Your Eye’ – if the milky sap gets in the eyes it can cause temporary blindness.
Green turtles return to the same beach to breed each season, a tremendous feat of navigation. Some populations migrate over 2,000 kilometres! Females dig a large nest, laying around 100-150 eggs before covering the nest in sand. When the hatchlings emerge, they make their way to the sea where they remain until they reach sexual maturity.
Banded sea krait
Banded sea kraits are amphibious snakes – they spend most of their life at sea, but come ashore to reproduce. The tail is paddle-shaped, which helps it to swim, and it has large lungs so it can spend long periods underwater. Although the banded sea krait is venomous, it’s not aggressive toward swimmers and divers.
South American sea lion
I don’t think I’d want to see this South American sea lion charging towards me on the beach – males can grow to nearly 3 metres and weight around 350 kilograms!
Aldabra giant tortoise
Check out the beachside view! Aldabra giant tortoises are endemic to the islands of Aldabra and the Seychelles, but have since been introduced to Mauritius and Reunion. As they are an endangered species, classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, these introductions are important to maintain the population of Aldabra giant tortoises.
Falkland steamerduck chicks huddle together on the shoreline, waiting for their parents to return with a tasty dish of regurgitated marine molluscs and crustaceans. Mmmm – mushed up crab, anyone?
Hawaiian monk seal
Hawaii is a beach lover’s paradise. Hawaiian monk seals can be found hauled out on Hawaii’s uninhabited tropical islands, making the most of the sun in between regular foraging trips.
Do you have a favourite beach shot on ARKive? Let us know!
Want to see what some of the ARKive species have been up to on their holidays? Find out in this months ARKive enews!
Ruth Hendry, ARKive Media Researcher