Sealife & Coasts of Cornwall


Cornwall has a diverse range of wildlife both out at sea, on the beaches and along the coastline...

Whether you are just strolling along the beach or taking a wildlife watching tour, Cornwall's rich marine and coastal wildlife is all around.

Marine animals range from the smallest, such as sponges, corals and by-the-wind sailors, to large animals such as Bottlenose Dolphins, Grey Seals, Leatherback Turtles, Basking Sharks, Fin Whales and a wealth of sea fish (including the unusual Ocean Sunfish) can be seen around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Many varities of mollusc are numerous in Cornish waters, both freshwater and saltwater species, including clams, mussels, snails, slugs, limpets, cuttlefish, Common Periwinkles and Dog Whelks, while crustaceans reign over the coastline and rock pools, home to crabs such as the spider crab, lobsters, prawns and the tenacious barnacles who cling to the rocks found around the coast.

The county's coastal waters are home to large populations of seals, and it is not uncommon to see porpoises, whales and sharks. St Ives recently made newspaper headlines after a reported sighting of a Great White Shark.


Grey Seal

Grey Seals have been spotted throughout the year in Cornwall.

Common Dolphins

Common Dolphins have been spotted throughout the year in Cornwall.

Fin Whale

The Fin Whale is the second largest Whale species after the more commonly-known Blue Whale.

Basking Shark

You can spot Basking Sharks in Cornwall from May to October each year.

Ocean Sunfish

The Ocean Sunfish can usually be found around the Summer time in Cornwall.

Whale Sharks

Whale Shark sightings are rare but they are harmless to humans as they only feed on plankton.


Mussels are in season from October to March each year in Cornwall.


There are over 300 species of Octopus in the ocean and they have been spotted in Cornwall throughout the year.


A delicacy in the catering industry, the Lobster can be spotted in the Cornish water most of the year.