Belize marine life includes a plethora of animals, such as mammals, fish and coral. Belize is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world with hundreds of different species. If you’re looking for an underwater adventure full of aquatic life, be sure to check out our scuba diving tour of Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. If you’re lucky, you’ll swim by some of the most popular marine animals included in this list.
Top 10 Marine Animals in Belize
- West Indian Manatee
- Southern Stingray
- Sea Turtle
- Nurse Shark
- Spotted Eagle Ray
- Dog Snapper
- Whale Shark
West Indian Manatee (Trichechus Manatus)
Manatees have been the subject of folklore for generations and are often portrayed to be magical creatures. In Belize, you are most likely to find these mammals on scuba diving tours surrounding the region’s many cayes. The Caribbean’s subspecies of the West Indian manatee is named the Antillean manatee.
Southern Stingray (Hypanus Americanus)
Ambergris Caye is a common location where scuba divers come across the Southern Stingray. You’ll also find this marine life in Belize hidden under layers of sand in the seabed. The Southern Stingray is easily identified by its serrated barb tail and diamond-shaped body.
While heading out for a scuba diving training or tour, our divers often gaze upon pods of dolphins swimming alongside the boat. The oceanic dolphin is always an exciting site to see despite being one of the most popular aquatic mammals found around the world. Belizean waters are known for being inhabited by two kinds of dolphin: bottlenose and spinner.
Sea Turtle (Chelonioidea)
The sea turtle is known for living long lives and only surface for air about once every three hours. The great barrier reef is home to six of the world’s seven known species of sea turtles. You’re most likely to see the green sea turtle while exploring Belizean waters.
Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma Cirratum)
When it comes to Belize marine life, the Nurse Shark is surprisingly more timid than other species. These sharks can grow up to 14 feet long (or 4.3 meters)! In the Ambergris Caye region, the nurse sharks are known to be fed lionfish and other snacks by local divers.
The lionfish is widely considered to be one of the largest threats to Caribbean coral reef life. The lionfish was first recorded in Belizean waters in 2008; however, the species was originally discovered in the ocean near Florida back in the 1980s. The lionfish has left a negative impact on Belize marine life due to its huge appetite.
Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus Narinari)
The spotted eagle ray is distinctly different than the southern stingray. Its white spots on its black back earn its nickname as the “duckbill ray.” The rays long tail contribute to a length of up to 5 meters (over 16 feet)!
Dog Snapper (Lutjanus Jocu)
While most people have seen dog snappers in public aquariums, nothing compares to scuba diving next to a wild school. Most Belize diving adventures will give you the opportunity to swim alongside dog snappers. Their eggs provide a bountiful source of food for larger Belize marine life and are known to attract whale sharks.
Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus)
The Gladden Spit — also known as the whale shark — is found among Belize marine life. These giant beasts can live for up to 150 years, can weigh up to 15 tons and grow to up to 60 feet! They’re distinctive by their grey color with yellow spots and stripes. Surprisingly, the whale shark is fairly harmless to humans.
While they may not seem like it, coral is classified as an aquatic animal. They are made up of thousands and thousands of tiny animals known as ‘polyps.’ Belize marine life is known to have over 100 different species of coral, such as hard coral and soft coral. Belize Diving Services offers night dive tours of the coral gardens.
Diving with Belize Marine Life
Are you interested in gazing upon these incredible creatures in-person? Belize offers the best scuba diving in the world and is an incredible opportunity to experience the many wonders of ocean life. If you’re planning your next vacation to Belize, scuba diving tours should be at the top of your list of itineraries. In fact, Belize is home to some of the best places to scuba dive for beginners and experts alike. Belize Diving Services can even help you learn how to get certified to scuba dive.