I remember as a young girl seeing an ad to see monkeys for the first time. These amazing creatures according to the packaging and smiling happy faces, built underwater castles and cities and looked like they would happily interact with me. I begged my parents to part with a 9.99+ postage and handling and enable me to interact with these amazing creatures. I could not understand what also dubious about the imagery being used by neither could I understand why everyone didn’t have some of the strange alien creatures in little container in their homes. In fact was not till I was a parent myself and my own daughter showed me an hour to see monkeys that see monkeys found their way into my home. I regret to say my Sea monkeys did not build underwater castles, they did not resemble intelligent life and were all left a little underwhelmed by the experience.

As you might have guessed as with the pet rock the Sea monkey in fact is more marketing gimmick than anything else. At least however the Sea monkey you do actually receive an animal (or at least the eggs required to make animal) when you park your cash unlike if you are silly enough to buy yourself a pet rock.

See monkeys are in fact a species of brine shrimp or fairy shrimp. Just as they are not truly monkeys live in the sea brine shrimp are not actually true shrimp but instead they are branchiopods. The term Sea monkey is a trademark given to them to market them as a novelty gift. They are found throughout the world in evaporative salt lakes. The salt lakes may lay drying for many years even decades when the rains come to brine shrimp eggs hatch with the shrimp quickly mature into adulthood as their lives may well be short salt lakes rarely staying for the water for long. If only a single egg was left, and the resulting offspring was a female and entire salt lake may be older repopulated self with sea monkeys as males undesirable but not technically required to take part in the breeding process.

To prevent annihilation of their species were solely to fill for a mere few days with all the eggs hatching and perishing prior to reaching adulthood. Brine shrimp eggs are programmed such that some will hatch with a wet the first time lost others will only hatch after being whacked several times. This amazing species preserving tactic was played up in the marketing of the sea monkeys, where the owner was encouraged to allow the Sea monkeys water to evaporate and then for the colony to be miraculously repopulated merely by re-adding water.

For a species supposedly so hardy that they have been up to exist for who knows how many thousands of years in such an extreme environment, our Sea monkeys proved to be very fragile. Yes we managed to get some hatch. Some even grew big enough that we could see them without a magnifying glass. But alas their lifespans were much shorter than the care information sheet indicated that they should have been. And though we evaporated all their water and added more fragile colony of sea monkeys was able to resurrect its people.

Sea-Monkeys can reproduce both sexually (requiring a male and a female) and asexually. When the eggs are laid, there are fewer males than females per “litter”. This is probably because they are not needed for reproduction. Females stop reproducing with the males when the males are too few.

Now I appreciate the tone of this article and seem to be somewhat negative regarding whether you should delve into the mystical world of the Sea monkey. In truth, it was amazing to see those little wriggling creatures spontaneously appear when we emptied a packet of Sea monkey eggs into a jar of water. Perhaps it was just that living in our household was even more harsh than living a salt lake. So if you’re looking for a low-risk novelty pet may be the Sea monkey is for you.



Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.