Animals at the Virginia Aquarium
With thousands of animals representing over 300 species and entertaining and educational exhibits, come ready to be inspired!
Journey from the shorelines to the depths of the Ocean and experience coastal and marine habitats from around the world.
Learn more about each animal or the exhibit where they can be found by clicking the images or buttons below! This represents just a small sample of the amazing animals at the Aquarium.
FISH, SHARKS & RAYS
There are tens of thousands of fish species found in bodies of salt and fresh water around the world. We have hundreds of species represented right here! Come see the amazing variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
On your next visit, look for our resident barracuda in the Chesapeake Light Tower Aquarium. More information on barracudas to come!
Green Moray Eel
Moray eels serve as top predators in the marine ecosystem and actually have few natural predators.
Sand Tiger Shark
You can find our resident sand tiger shark's toothy grin in the Norfolk Canyon aquarium!
Spotted Eagle Ray
Although considered shy, these rays are commonly observed leaping high out of the ocean.
REPTILES, TURTLES & SNAKES
This class of vertebrate animals is characterized by having dry skin covered with scales or horny plates and breathing with lungs. This grouping includes snakes, lizards, crocodilians, and turtles.
Teman and Sanchez represent the largest and heaviest of all lizards on earth.
Tomistoma like Ralf and Sommer are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and hunting.
Can you find Greenie in the Light Tower Aquarium? Hint: Don't be fooled by the sea turtle's name.
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
This is the smallest and more critically endangered of all sea turtles!
For centuries this snake has been warning many hikers and adventurers. Find our resident rattler in the Coastal River Room.
One of the most venomous in the world, the Egyptian cobra is recognized by its hood-shaped neck that expands when threatened.
This class of cold-blooded vertebrates comprises frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. They are distinguished by their life cycle, having a larval aquatic gill-breathing stage followed (typically) by an adult terrestrial lung-breathing stage. Amphibians can be found in a wide variety of habitats, with most species living in forested or freshwater aquatic ecosystems.
Eastern Tiger Salamander
Meet Wiggles our resident ambassador at the video link below or learn more by visiting the Coastal River Room.
This amphibian is also colorfully known as snot otter, lasagna lizard, mud-devil, and Alleghany alligator.
This class of vertebrate animals is characterized by having fur or hair and mammary glands, used for milk production and for feeding their young, and almost all mammals have live births. In addition to our seals and otters, be on the lookout for some of our special mammal Animal Ambassadors.
Be sure to visit our friendly seals just outside the Aquarium North Building entrance and enjoy watching one of their regular training sessions.
Lesser Madagascar Tenrec
Watch for our resident prickly ambassadors who might be out meeting guests or learn more about Elise at the video link below!
Invertebrates include an immense and varied group of animals, but they all lack a vertebral column (backbone). Some have a protective and supportive shell or exoskeleton. Shells might be bi-valve or coiled, developed naturally or scavenged. From jellies and crabs to all of our shelled animals, see how many invertebrates you can find!
Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin
Sea urchins are covered with long spines that effectively deter enemies and use their tube feet to “walk” on hard surfaces and along the ocean floor.
A very large predatory sea snail, this species is eaten by humans in salads, burgers, fritters, and chowders.
Birds? At an aquarium? Actually, not only are there many species of marine birds like pelicans, penguins, and seagulls, there are many species of birds that call the shorelines and estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay home. Birds are warm-blooded vertebrates that have feathers and toothless beaked jaws.