Sea Cucumbers

The animal that spills its guts.

Sea cucumbers can confuse or harm predators by expelling their internal organs, along with a toxic substance, in the direction of an attack. The sea cucumber’s missing organs regenerate in one to five weeks.

sea cucumber

Not a vegetable
While sea cucumbers are named for their resemblance to the vegetable, they are not vegetables at all. They are echinoderms like sea stars and sea urchins.
Earthworms of the sea
Sea cucumbers use tube feet that look like tentacles surrounding their mouths to eat. They feed on algae, minute aquatic animals, and waste materials. Sea cucumbers break down food into even smaller pieces that bacteria feed on and then recycle back into the ocean ecosystem. Sea cucumbers do for the ocean ecosystem what earthworms do for terrestrial ecosystems.
Breeding on the sea bed
Sea cucumbers can breed sexually or asexually. Sexual reproduction, through the release of eggs and sperm into the water to be fertilized, is more typical. In order for this reproductive method to be successful there must be many individual sea cucumbers living in close proximity to each other. Large herds of sea cucumbers are often found on the deep ocean floor.
No brain, no blood
Sea cucumbers don’t have blood or a heart. Instead, they use a water vascular system to carry oxygen to vital organs. They don’t have brains or eyes either.

Quick Facts

Diet: Omnivore
Average lifespan in the wild:
5-10 years
Size: From 1” to 6.5'
Protection Status: Stable