One of the joys of diving is learning about the thousands of different underwater creatures that live in our oceans. Students always ask me about the fish they see when we surface.
One of the animals that I get the most questions about is the sea cucumber. They’re are wild looking bunch of creatures that look like thick, short worms. Here’s some interesting facts about them:
- Their body consists of collagen fibers that they can loosen and tighten at will. So if they want to squeeze into a crack in the rocks, they can essentially liquefy their body and then tighten back up once the emerge.
- There are over 1,700 different species of sea cucumber which can look wildly different from one another. Some of them have feet and can walk around (we see these here) and some of them have webbed structures that allow them to effectively swim around.
- We see lots of them on dives here on Koh Tao, but they also are very common at extremely deep depths (kilometers under water) where they make up to 90% of all the animals that live so deep.
- They’re certainly not the most beautiful animals we see, but they’re cool in their own way.